ERLOWISM: What they say about peace

SONGCO SKIES. Photo by April Rose Torion

A Moro-IP Kinship Special by Erlow Talatala

 

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.net/ 26 March 2019)—Every March 8 of the year, leaders of Moro tribes in different parts of Mindanao and the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Bukidnon gather at Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon, to commemorate the kinship covenant they signed seven years ago.

Based on tribal legend, the location Songco or Bulan-bulan is believed to be the center of the world and a sacred territory where no one could kill or be killed. A common practice among ancient warriors who set foot on the territory is stopping by the surrounding rivers to prepare themselves as a sign of respect, sheathing their spears, and combing then knotting their long hair.

The Kinship Covenant, as seen in this monument, is based on five principles–KILALAHA (mutual recognition and respect), SAYUDA (mutual sharing of information), BULIGA (cooperation), UYAGA (mutual protection and preservation of life), and PAGBATUNBATUNA (mutual obligation to help the needy). The covenant was signed in 2012 at the Talaandig Ancestral Territory in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon. (Photo by April Rose Torion)

For the Moros, the Moro-IP kinship was based on the story of two brothers, Mamalu, the ancestor of the IPs, and Tabunaway, the ancestor of the Moros.

For the IPs of Bukidnon, their version was based on the story of Agbibilin who had four sons. Saulana, the eldest son and the ancestor of the Talaandig was entrusted with the jar of oil, duty-bound to settle the disputes among the kinsfolk of the four brothers.

The other siblings are Alawiya, the ancestor of the Meranao; Saguntuan, the ancestor of the Maguindanao; and Sabuntung, the ancestor of the Manobo.

The kinship covenant, which forged peaceful relationship between the Moros and the IPs, is an essential condition for the realization of human rights and fundamental freedom in the region. This implies that no peace can be sustained without justice and without respect for human rights.

More than 200 participants attended the kinship commemoration earlier this month. Some of them gave speeches about peace.

Here are some extracts:

“Peace could only be possible with acceptance, respect, and trust.”  – Waway Saway (Talaandig)

“Remember our roots and respect our kinship.” – Victor Ula (Maguindanao)

“There should be dialogue and total control over area of responsibility.” – Bai Leah (Tigwahanon )

“In-depth understanding and respect of kinship.” – Datu Ampuan Jeodoro Sulda (Manobo)

“Knowing that fighting is fighting with our brothers and ourselves.” – Datu Dia-on (Matigsalug)

“Consult and respect the Pasagi.” – Bai Tinangkil (Talaandig)

“Protect peace boldly through serious leadership and cleansing of one’s backyard.” – Datu Migketay Victorino Saway (Talaandig)

“Unity is the strength to achieved victory. Unite to protect the “rivers” and you protect life.” – Ernie Devibar ( Mayor, Lantapan)

“Fight the real enemy and have dialogue even with those whom you consider enemies.” – John Paul Perrine (Datu Sinablawan – Hineleban Foundation, Inc.)

“We breathe the same air, so why can’t we be one?” – Coffee for Peace

“Unite the youth in Spirit.” – Pastor Rhodney Sarilla

“Bridge leaders and promote human development.” – Asec. Rhea Penaflor (DSWD)