The Bangsamoro Basic Law will not only protect the rights of the indigenous peoples (IPs) enshrined in Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 but more importantly, guarantee additional rights for them.
“The Bangsamoro Basic Law will be in favor of the Indigenous Peoples in
the Bangsamoro because of the additional rights provided in the proposed
law,” said Cagayan de Oro second district Representative Rufus
Rodriguez, chairman of the House of Representatives' Ad Hoc Committee on
the BBL during first out-of-town congressional hearing held in Upi,
Maguindanao. “It is very clear that all the rights in the IPRA are
already in the BBL and there are more,” he stressed.
issued the statement in response to concerns expressed by IP leaders
that there should be no derogation and dilution of the IP rights already
guaranteed in the IPRA.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Assistant
Secretary Howard Cafugauan affirmed Rodriguez’ statement and clarified
that the protection of IP rights in the BBL is also in accordance with
the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.
At the same time, Cafugauan noted that beyond the definite recognition
of IP rights in the Bangsamoro is the assurance of the right to
political participation and representation in the Bangsamoro Government.
Cafugauan cited Article VII, Sec. 5.3 of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic
Law, which provides for “sectoral representatives, constituting 10% of
the Members of Parliament, including two reserved seats each for
non-Moro indigenous communities and settler communities.”
He added that the BBL also provides for the creation of an appropriate
ministry or office for the IPs by the Bangsamoro parliament. “This
ministry of Indigenous Peoples is at the cabinet-level. This is how IP
rights are significantly recognized and respected in the BBL,” Cafugauan
To ensure more opportunities for IPs political participation, Rodriguez
also committed that Congress will consider the proposal given by the
Indigenous Peoples Technical Working Group for a separate district for
the municipalities of Datu Blah Sinsuat, South Upi, and North Upi in
Maguindanao, which are largely populated by IPs.
Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) legal consultant Atty
Lanang Ali, Jr. also shared that IPs will receive higher equitable share
in revenues from the exploration, development, and utilization of
resources in their ancestral lands as opposed to the one-percent (1%)
royalty provided for by the IPRA Law.
Rodriguez also noted the establishment of a tribal university system in
the Bangsamoro which will help preserve all the customs and traditions,
and cultures of the IPs in Mindanao, while also providing the much
needed educational opportunities.
“I am excited for your children because I am of indigenous ancestry as
my grandmother, Amparo Bagaboyo is a Higaonon from Bukidnon,” Rodriguez
said, explaining that the BBL provides for the creation by the
Bangsamoro parliament of a tribal university system that seeks to
address the higher educational needs of the indigenous cultural
communities in the Bangsamoro. (OPAPP)