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CM Ebrahim vows to advance Indigenous Peoples’ rights

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS • 16:30 PM Tue Oct 3, 2023
Bai Omairah Yusop/BIO
The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affair (MIPA-BARMM) kicks off on Monday, October 3, 2023 the celebration of the National Indigenous Month. (Marhom Ibrahim/BIO)

COTABATO CITY — Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim reaffirmed the Government of the Day’s dedication to advocating the rights of Indigenous communities and promoting inclusivity and unity within the region during the kick-off ceremony of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month (NIPM) celebration on Monday, Oct. 2.
Stressing the paramount importance of Indigenous Peoples' (IPs) participation in decision-making, which is vital for shaping the region's progress, he also urged the Bangsamoro community to actively recognize and provide support to our native brethren.
"In the Bangsamoro, we are committed to advancing the rights of indigenous peoples and their participation in governance and community planning," CM Ebrahim said, underscoring the significance of providing a platform for representation and partaking of IPs in the autonomous region’s governance.
He emphasized the importance of showing empathy and compassion in addressing their needs and issues to solidify the region's path toward a more harmonious Bangsamoro.
“Empathy and compassion for their hopes and needs will be the foundation of better regional solidarity,” he said.
Despite the region’s efforts for socio-economic advancements, accordingly, preservation of heritage and identity must still be upheld.
“It is critical that, as we implement current developments, we also look back and reflect on how our indigenous people have retained the identity that we all now enjoy,” he shared.
Meanwhile, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Melanio U. Ulama reinforced this as he recounted the undaunted spirit of IPs’ ancestors, Mamalu and Tabunaway, in remaining steadfast in their traditions against constant siege of colonizers.
He emphasized that the recognition of IPs this month is the fruit of a hard-won struggle by their forefathers.
In accordance with the Proclamation No. 1906, Series of 2009, NIPM is celebrated every month of October in recognition of the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Philippines.
The Bangsamoro Government is serious in terms of safeguarding the distinct indigenous and ethnic identity of non-Moro IPs.
In fact, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) proposed a bill which empowers the constitutional duty to protect the rights of IPs to their ancestral lands, cultures, traditions, and institutions.
The bill is one of the BTA’s seven priority codes.
This year’s commemoration is anchored with the theme "Katutubong Bangsamoro: Sama-Sama sa Pagsulong ng Karapatan, Pagkilala sa Kultura at Mapayapang Pangangalaga sa Lupang Ninuno, Noon, Ngayon at Bukas”.
The formulation and institutionalization of the Indigenous Peoples Code remain one of the priority codes of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to provide critical opportunities for indigenous communities and leaders to promote their rights and interests, in line with the Enhanced 12-Point Priority Agenda for 2023-2025 of CM Ebrahim. 

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