COTABATO CITY—Indigenous peoples (IP) tribal leaders and organizations from across the Bangsamoro region expressed their strong support to the extension of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025.
In a meeting initiated by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA) on Wednesday, June 16, Minister Melanio Ulama said the IP tribal leaders and organizations discussed their positions and formulated constructive ideas to support the BTA extension.
Esther T. Gunsi, IP tribal leader from South Upi, Maguindanao said, “I need to go down to the ground to educate the IP community on why we need to extend the Bangsamoro Transition Authority […] on behalf of my community, we are a hundred percent committed to supporting the BTA extension.”
Minister Ulama supported this notion, saying the extension is needed in order to fully implement the Ministry’s programs and projects for the IP communities.
“Napakalaking oportunidad sa ating mga katutubo na mabigyan ng isang ministry sa Bangsamoro Government. Ito’y palatandaan lamang na kinikilala tayo at hindi pinapabayaan ng regional government,” he said.
Ulama also mentioned that the Indigenous Peoples Code (IP Code) is one of the priority codes soon to be voted into law by the BTA within 2021-2022.
As stated in Article IX, Section 3 of Republic Act No.11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Bangsamoro Government recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples and shall adopt measures for the promotion and protection of their rights. (Bangsamoro Information Office)