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.###