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Indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (IPs) are the most economically marginalised, politically and socio-culturally disenfranchised among different groups of People in the Philippines. Consisting about 18% of the country’s population, they are located in remote areas where access to basic social services is less or none at all. Thus, illiteracy and mortality rates are considerably high especially on infants. In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), there are more than a hundred thousand IPs spread over two provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. Majority of them are the Teduray, Lambangian, Dulangan Manobo in Maguindanao Province and the Higaonon and other aggregates tribes in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
In decades long and deadliest conflicts in Mindanao, IPs are the ultimate victims. Their Ancestral Domains served as battlefield to the countless skirmishes between the military and revolutionary forces. They are squeezed in between two powerful forces- military on one side and revolutionary forces on the other side. Thus, many tribal leaders were killed by either forces for being suspected as NPA/MILF sympathisers or military assets.
This presentation will address the IPs participation in the core territory of the Bangsamoro in two peace processes between government and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). IP groups have actively engaged in the peace structures created by government to accommodate inclusive community participations in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Though may not be enough, IPs managed to successfully include substantive provisions recognising their rights in the proposed Bangsamoro region.
About the Speaker
Froilyn Mendoza is a Téduray woman who is a native of South Upi Maguindanao. Known for her work for the advancement and popularisation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples including indigenous women. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Southern Mindanao and earned another degree as registered midwife in Northern Cotabato College in Kabacan North Cotabato.
She co-founded the Téduray Lambangian Women Organization, a grassroots based organization of tribal women in the hinterlands of Maguindanao province. She was then involved in many advocacy works where she authored a study published by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance on the impact of early and arranged marriage of Téduray and Lambangian women.
Froilyn is the major proponent in pushing for the rights of IP women in crafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 290 or the GAD Code of ARMM, and the Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 241 on the rights and role of IP women in its respective indigenous political structure. She particularly took part in the review of customary practices of imposing conditions that are highly unfavourable and dis-advantageous to IP women as means of settling disputes on VAWC cases and other heinous crimes such as the amicable settlement of rape case in IP communities. She represents her tribe in many international gatherings. She is the first young IP woman leader to represent her tribe to the first transition commission that drafts the basic law for the Bangsamoro.