The final Senate draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be embedded with provisions promoting the development of tribal communities that will be put under the jurisdiction of the autonomous Bangsamoro authority.
This assurance was made on Tuesday by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., telling the indigenous peoples (IPs), or indigenous cultural communities, that the BBL will safeguard their interests and “won’t let you down.”
In a statement, he said he is preparing inputs in the form of provisions protecting the IPs’ rights, promoting their welfare and preserving their culture and territories.
“The final Senate version of the BBL won’t let you [IPs] down. The all-inclusive peace process that I envision, in which the BBL is a major component, is not complete if the IPs are left out,” Marcos added.
Marcos, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, is tackling the BBL and had consulted various indigenous peoples and heard their complaints and proposals.
The Citizens Peace Council last Monday submitted its report to the House of Representatives recommending, among others, that the BBL should spell out the rights of IPs in the proposed autonomous Bangsamoro entity.
“In fact, I am now going through the recommendations and proposals of various IPs submitted to my committee. Whatever comes out as the final draft of the BBL in the Senate, I can assure the IPs that their protection and advancement are well-recognized and expressed,” Marcos said.
IPs, under Republic Act 8371, are defined as a group of people or homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos.