SLIDESHOW: Strengthening Moro-Lumad friendship--minus the usual
Representatives of eight Lumad tribes, their Moro kin and settlers gathered here in the village of the Talaandig last Friday to renew their friendship.
They slaughtered chickens and smeared the blood on their palms and foreheads in a tribal rite in Barangay Songco here to celebrate their bonds.
Drops of chicken blood were then sprinkled at the monument marking the kinship reaffirmation, which features a clay “tibod” or jar that symbolizes the unity of the tri-peoples of Mindanao. The jar also symbolizes the customs and traditions left behind by Apu Agbibilin to Apu Saulana, the ancestors of the Talaandigs.
Datu Migketay Victorino Saway, head of the Talaandig tribe, said every year since 2012, representatives from the different indigenous groups celebrate their friendship in the Talaandig community center in barangay Songco at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad.
But unlike the previous years, the Indigenous People (IP)-Moro Reaffirmation of their kinship was held last Friday even though Maguindanao and Maranaos leaders were not there.
Noticeably absent last Friday were representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority.
Instead, a small party of Maguindanao security guards sent by a local business corporation was the only presence of people the lumads had desperately sought friendship with years ago.
The security guards dressed in their uniforms participated in the tribal dances that followed the lumad rite that celebrated the Moro-IP covenant of their historical kinship.
“We hold our kinship dear but everyone is busy with their work at the Bangsamoro Transitional Assembly,” Victor Ullah, the only Moro representative said.
“The more it [friendship] is important now, especially since the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim is being implemented,” Saway said.
Saway said the lumads are happy that the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao recognized the non-Islamized tribes.
Two representatives of the lumads – Melanio Ulama and Romeo Saliga — were appointed members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The lumads helped in the drafting of RA 11054, the organic law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that gives representation to non-Moro indigenous people in the 80-member Bangsamoro Transitional Assembly.
Talaandig children enjoy the breeze despite the bright sun at the entrance of the Talaandig community Center. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Lumad painter Bae Ipa Kinuyog poses with some of her soil paintings displayed at the Talaandig community center in Songco, Lantapan town, Bukidnon on Friday, March 8, 2019. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Talaandig women gather before the start of the ceremony. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Leaders of Bukidnon's various tribes prepare the lumad rite to celebrate their friendship with the Moro people. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Leaders of Bukidnon's various tribes prepare chickens for a ritual. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Talaandig women prepare a chicken that would be slaughtered in the lumad rite celebrating their friendship with the Moro people. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Datu Ampuan Jeodoro Solda of the Manobo tribe takes photos of the event at the Talaandig community center. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News
Talaandig women and children enjoy the festive mood during the celebration. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News