From Tempo (Dec 26): Soldier slain
TUGUEGARAO CITY – A soldier enjoying his Christmas vacation was shot dead Monday afternoon by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) near a gymnasium in Barangay Tubel, Allacapan, Cagayan.
Police identified the victim as Sgt. Edimar Binuya, a member of the Charlie Company of the Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion, based in Kalinga province.
It was reported that the victim was on his way home after playing basketball at the gymnasium when at least four unidentified men carrying high-powered firearms shot him several times, killing him on the spot.
It was organized by the Tabunaway-Mamalu Re-affirmation of Kinship Council with the support of Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) headed by Atty. Mary –Ann Arnado including groups of Islamized and non-Islamized inhabitants all over Mindanao. The MPC belongs to a group of civil society organizations that is in partner with the BTC on its public engagement activities relative to the drafting of the basic law.
The activity started with a cutting of Rattan that symbolizes a sacred pact to strengthen the Mamalu-Tabunaway brotherhood. It is also an act of expressing strong support to the peace process and the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The historic event was attended by about 200 descendants of Rajah Tabunaway and Datu Mamalu who wore their colourful traditional attire, and some special guests from the military, Moro datus, timuays or datus of the IP’s, the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and officials and members of non-government organizations (NGO’s).
According to the tarsila (salsila) or genealogy, Rajah Tabunaway and Datu Mamalu were brothers and they just separated by belief but their kinship never been detached. Sometime in the 13th century Arab missionaries arrived in Sulu and in Mindanao and spread Islam about two (2) centuries before the Spaniards discovered the Philippines, and later on proceeded to the Island of Mindanao. The Moros and the indigenous people (IP’s) then were inhabitants of small communities in Maguindanao, now Cotabato City.
When the Arab missionaries first set foot at Katuli (now in Sultan Kudarat), Maguindanao, the Moros readily accepted Islam and their brethren the Tedurays/IP’s stuck to their traditional belief and trekked towards the highlands of Maguindanao where many of them reside until this day; educated and developed like the Moros. Today a lot of them converted to Christianity, others also reverted to Islam.
In his speech, Datu Vic Saway, a Talaandig tribe leader expressed his message of support to the Moro-IP reaffirmation of kinship.
“Mamatay man ang mga Moro, mamatay man ang mga IPs, hindi mamatay ang aming kapatiran.” (Even if the Moros die; even if the IP’s die, our brotherhood shall not vanish), Datu Vic Saway said.
The ceremony was highlighted with five pillars of kinship such as; Kilalaha (Mutual Recognition and Trust), Sayuda (Mutual Sharing of Information), Buliga (Cooperation), Uyaga (Mutual Protection & Preservation of Life), and Pabatunbatuna (Mutual Obligation to Help). The primordial objective of the program is to strengthen the kinship among early inhabitants of Mindanao.
Commissioner Timuay Melanio Ulama, a Teduray tribe leader and a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) said that Moro and IP kinship is divine. No one could make them apart.
“We were brothers since ancient times. Our kinship is sacred. It is God who made us brothers and sisters. No one can break the tie that binds us.” he said.
An exchanged of gifts were also done between Commissioner Timuay Melanio Ulama, who represented the IP’s and Maestro Celis who represented the Moros that symbolized the Moro-IP brotherhood. The “kulintang”, a Moro xylophone was played several times reminiscent of the olden times courtesy of ARMM’s Bureau on Cultural Heritage. A war dance or Sagayan and a traditional IP dance were part of the program that even passers-by witnessed them.
In his message, Mr. Sam Ebrahim, BTC Peace Program Officer who represented MILF Peace Panel and BTC Chair Mohagher Iqbal who was in Manila, he recognized and acknowledged the importance and significance of the program re-affirming the Rajah Tabunaway-Datu Mamalu kinship. He said that “it is a reality and a historical fact”. He admitted however that even without re-affirming such a kinship, it cannot be severed because it was created by the Almighty. Nevertheless, he underscored the significance of the activity where many descendants of Rajah Tabunaway and Datu Mamalu were present.
Ebrahim read a portion of an article written by a Moro writer/ historian, which said, “Since time immemorial the Moros and the IP’s are one and united. There had never been an instance in the past of serious and widespread animosities or fight between the two communities because they are blood brothers”.
Touching briefly on the peace process, Ebrahim said that the peace talks are similar to a boxing bout but it is an intelligent exchange of verbal blows between the GPH-MILF panels without punches and jabs. But once they reach an agreement, both parties emerge as winners. He further said that once the parties agree and sign the annex on normalization, they will sign the comprehensive peace agreement or CPA. The CPA, he said will redound to the dawning of peace, tranquillity and harmonious relationship between and among the people of Mindanao Region.
Colonel Dickson Hermoso who represented Major General Romeo Gapuz, Commanding General of the 6th Infantry Division admitted having not enough knowledge on the Tabunaway-Mamalu kinship that he asked his son do some research on the matter. He urged the audience to support the peace process so that peace can reign in Mindanao. He said that, “The soldiers also want peace as they too have their own families”. He expressed his hope, for the two peace panels to sign the annex on normalization next year.
Atty. Datu Antonio Kenoc, Alternate member of the MILF Peace Panels and BTC Legal Officer who belong to the B’laan Tribe related their way of life, traditions and culture of their tribe. He said that they don’t intermarriage with any tribe. They instead intermarry within their own people. The representatives from the IMT, NGO’s also expressed support to the activity. Mr. Pantao, a three (3) termer member of the Municipal Council of Libungan, now the only Moro member of the Provincial Council of North Cotabato told the audience that he will personally talk to Governor Lala Mendoza to initiate the same activity and hold it in the province.
The event is a result of various consultations conducted among the native inhabitants in Bukidnon, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Misamis Oriental and Lanao provinces relative to the on-going GPH-MILF Peace Talks.
The first reaffirmation of kinship rite was done at the Talaandig Ancestral Domain, Sungko, Lantapan, Malaybalay, Bukidnon on March 7-8, 2011, and the second was conducted at Kitaotao, Lorega, Bukidnon on November 24, 2013, which was participated by different tribes of Mindanao native inhabitants, traditional leaders, other sectors of society and civil society organizations.
The organizers are looking forward to holding similar activity in other areas to further strengthen the kinship between and among the native inhabitants of Mindanao.