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PIA Press Release

MICPD attempts to reunite IPs in Davao Oriental

Davao City (29 July) -- Hoping to settle conflicts among two tribes, the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference for Peace and Development (MICPD) held the three-day "Migkasobad" - an activity aimed to reunite the warring tribes in Mati, Davao Oriental.

MICPD chairman Joel Unad, in an interview with the Davao media, said that there is now a need for MICPD to intervene and resolve the problem involving the two tribal councils.

Unad was referring to the Manobo tribe of Barangay Cabuaya and the Mandaya tribe of Barangay Macambol who got into conflict as the foreign mining firm BHP Billiton and its local partner Asiaticus Management are into an internal problem.

A new faction, a Mandaya tribe from Sitio Magum, Barangay Macambol has joined the Manobo tribe in calling for their representation in the negotiations entered by the local mining company.

MICPD was then called by Mindanao Local Chapter chairman Bae Ermilita Latiban to serve as the convenor in the peace pact that was supposed to resolve problems between the said tribal councils.

"We are here not to try to solve the issue involving the two mining companies, but we are here to reunite the tribes," said Unad.

The "Migkasobad" convened local government executives, the three tribes involved in the conflict, the Armed forces of the Philippines, and national government agencies.

Latiban expressed frustration as the Mandaya tribe of Barangay Macambol or even their representative did not attend the activity.

" Kini nagpasabot nga dili pa sila gusto mu-reconcile sa among tribo. (It only shows that they are not yet willing or ready to reconcile with our tribe.), said Latiban.

The activity took place in Barangay Tibanban, Governor Generoso town which they called to be "a neutral ground", safe enough to hold the reconciliation process.

However, Latiban claimed that the other tribe must have been instructed by the local mining firm not to engage in any negotiation with them, thus their absence in the "Migkasobad".

Unad, on the other hand, called the concerned tribes to leave the matter in the hands of the mining companies and live harmoniously as settlers in their ancestral domain.

The group then came up with a resolution with their intention to nullify the resolution made by the Mandaya Tribe that failed to get the participation of the Manobo tribe as well as the natives in Sitio Magum. A copy of the "Migkasobad" resolution was then sent to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (PIA XI) [top]

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