Tribe bae: No to BBL

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #netizenmedia

caption: Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), a former supervisor of SM Malls in Manila, is now right hand of Datu Lolong, national chairman of Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation. The couple is seen here on their way to Sitio Tamusan, Brgy. Capehan, Libona town, Bukidnon for a tribal assembly. The children are residents of Tamusan.

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, NORTHERN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES — “We say no to the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We can’t trust some Muslims; they have this culture of reprisal or vendetta (rido) that it’s best to trust only when they are dead,” so states Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), wife of Datu Lolong (Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr.) prior to our ritual in line with our membership to the Higaonon tribe on April 2 (Maundy Thursday) as migrants (bilaw or non-lumad bloodline).

A “bae” is a title given to a wife of a datu, the chieftain here of a Higaonon tribe. These two are trusted community leaders.

“I say that we can’t trust all Muslims because when they are angry, lisod kaayo na sila. Pag masuko, rido gyud na. Higaonons value peace. In fact, we are the most peace-loving people of all tribes here. We had only engaged in war when we really were left with no choice. But currently we have worked so hard on promoting economic sustainability as we battle continuously for the preservation of tribal reservation areas,” Bae Makabulig underscored.

Higaonons value promotion of social justice system: recognizing the rights of individuals, protecting and preserving their culture, traditions and institutions.

When Datu Lolong, national chairman of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan-Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation, was asked on reported armed movements recruiting Higaonons, he said that warfare and uprisings are decided by the Council of Datus. As for now, they bank on the various peace treaties forged by their elders such as the Treaties of Dawa (the right to alliance or association), as well as Durian (the right to self-determination under a national government).

“Our laws and peace treaties complement the provisions of Philippine Constitutions – 1935 and 1987 – that we are to unite tribes and to engage in peace processes, no matter how long and painstaking,” the datu added.

“One’s works speak well of one’s motives. How can the Bangsamoro attest to campaigning for peace but preparing, at the same time, for war? The act gives us the hint on how to course our judgment for the welfare of indigenous people here. We will decide what to do with these revolutionary groups when time comes,” the datu accentuated.

For now, they are not bothered by the recruitment activities as consultations between government troops and Higaonons reportedly harassed by revolutionary groups are ongoing. The last talk was held at Camp Evangelista last March 26 and 27 in Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.

Somehow, a culture of deceit is evident in the use of aliases by negotiators from the MILF camp. Mohagher Iqbal, for one, refuses to disclose his real identity, saying it is “normal for them to be carrying various names and monikers.”

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. led the questioning on Iqbal’s person, but failed to squeeze out substantial information.###


Higaonons get only 3% of job slots

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #netizenmedia

caption: Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr. (aka Datu Lolong) sits as national chairman of the Higaonon Tribe. He is seen here facilitating a ritual before a tribal assembly tackling concerns on division even among a supposed most organized tribe in Mindanao.

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, NORTHERN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES — Acquisition of technical education and improved basic life skills are seen to surpass current chances of Higaonons to be accepted into important job sectors.

According to Datu Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr. of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan – Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation, only three of 100 Higaonons qualify for important jobs like that in government, in the academe, in the manufacturing and labor sectors.

“That’s why we have put up a training center because what most Higaonons here lack in general education, they can learn from technical education specialists.” It was learned that Talugan Ta Tagoloan (TTT), in coordination with TESDA and employers based in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, open training on housekeeping, practical electricity, carpentry and mason works.

“We also tap some ex-abroad (members of the tribe who have previous experience of overseas work) to help in the training especially on certain adjustments to Middle East culture, how to handle work-related pressure and crisis, how to behave properly as an overseas contract worker, how to deal with home sickness, and the like,” the Supremo of the TTT said.

In a year’s time, around 30 members of the TTT have been deployed. Around 300 workers are needed in the housekeeping and carpentry sectors.

Further, Datu Lolong lamented of the fact that around P12 million funds were lost to non-Higaonon recipients. “Projects worth P400,000 and another around P12 million, that I know of, have been channeled to the wrong agencies and organizations with non-tribal members. We have not benefited from these. So it is best that when help comes to Higaonons, there is a legitimate organization like TTT to deal with, so project implementers will know the current needs of a tribe of which lands and forests are its people’s natural heritage.”

TTT office is in Balingasag, Talusan, Misamis Oriental; email It is registered under SEC #201329165, with TIN #436-294-976.

Datu Lolong is the national chairman and chief executive officer of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan – Supreme Council of Datus/Baes, Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation.###