Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Teduray, Maguindanaon renew ties in peace dialogue


The Teduray and Maguindanaon people have agreed upon creating a conflict management mechanism geared towards peaceful settlements between the two communities in South Upi, Maguindanao after a dialogue held last May 31. An estimated 100 participants attended and took part in coming up with amechanism for peaceful resolution of conflicts that have recently arisen, with the support of the Mindanao Human Rights Action Center (MinHRAC) and the International Monitoring Team (IMT).

During the event, Timuay Jovito Martin, Regional Tribal Chieftain of the Teduray tribe, recounted the story of Apo Mamalo and Apo Tabunaway – two brothers who, despite choosing to follow different beliefs, remained the greatest of allies. The Teduray trace their lineage back to Apo Mamalo while the Maguindanaon share their bloodline with Apo Tabunaway.

This story serves as the foundation for the formation of a council consisting of tribal elders as a conflict management mechanism that will enable the Teduray and Maguindanaon to resolve disputes on the grassroots level and live together in mutual respect as their ancestors did.

Aside from the formation of a tribal council, a kanduli will be held come July as a testament to the newfound solidarity between the Teduray and Maguindanaon. Both also plan to work together on an advocacy campaign, in cooperation with other tribes in Central Mindanao, which focuses on the kinship between Apo Mamalo and Apo Tabunaway and is geared towards sustaining a similar relationship among the different tribes.

Timuay Martin also acknowledged the contributions of MinHRAC to their community in terms of human rights awareness and alleviation of tension caused by recent conflicts.


Two events are of note in relation to this peace dialogue. One is the disappearance of Rogelio Mundo, member of the Teduray tribe, while the other is the strafing of three Teduray homes, both of which happened in South Upi, Maguindanao. However, no cases have been filed due to lack of corroborating evidence and witnesses.

Mundo makes a living as a meat trader, and the reason for his disappearance is still unknown. Despite searches done through the joint-effort of the tribe leaders and several CAFGU members, together with incident reports to the Philippine National Police and the local government, Mundo still hasn’t been found.

Due to the alleged implication of a Maguindanaon who is the Mundo’s business partner, there has been tension between residents belonging to the two ethnic groups in the area. However with the intervention of the tribal leaders, the case has been reported to MinHRAC which then assisted them in engaging each other through a peace dialogue.

Regarding the strafing incident which happened last May 10, only assumptions have been made. Some say the houses were targeted by armed men because of the residents’ appointment as part of the Peace Council. The Peace Council is said to be an initiative by the Tri-people Organization Against Disaster Foundation (TRIPAD).

Inquiries about the deaths due to past and resolved conflicts made separately with the Teduray and Maguindanaon communities is said to have caused tension between the two groups, now believed to be the reason behind aggression. The inquiries provided the rationale for TRIPAD to form a Peace Council which is thought to be redundant with an already existing tribal council which is a part of their traditional justice system.

Despite the recently concluded peace dialogue, masked men have recently been sighted near the homes of those affected by the strafing. This prompted the affected families to request that the Kanduli be held as soon as possible, in order to ensure their safety.

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note: more photos on the Peace Dialogue can be found in our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MinHRAC.Official 

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