Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Froilyn Mendoza, Thomson Reuters Foundation

7/18/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Tribal women reduced to only serving as housewives in arranged marriages

When the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012, many rejoiced. A peace deal seemed finally to have ended the four-decade conflict between the Government and MILF.

It is not surprising to see young indigenous women in the Philippines being forced to marry men six times their age in arranged marriages.

It is not surprising to see young indigenous women in the Philippines being forced to marry men six times their age in arranged marriages.

Highlights

By Froilyn Mendoza, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/18/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Téduray tribe, Philippines, rape, marriage, customs


(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - But peace is not just the absence of war or conflict. For indigenous women like me, peace is about kefiyo fédéw (peaceful feeling). This can only be attained in the future Bangsamoro if all our basic needs such as food, shelter, security and recognition are satisfied. We need to be given the fundamental right to our identity and territory. It is our inherent birthright.  It is non-negotiable.

I live in the southernmost part of the Philippines, in the hinterlands of South Upi. It is one of the poorest municipalities in the province of Maguindanao and is at the heart of the conflict. It is a core territory of the envisioned future Bangsamoro political entity.

Get food into the hands of hungry children -- by going here!


I belong to the Téduray tribe, one of the 18 major tribal groupings of Non Islamized Indigenous Lumad tribes in Mindanao. For the past 20 years I've been a grassroots campaigner and organiser for indigenous women. I am the founder of the Téduray Lambangian Women's Organization (TLWOI), a grassroots organization of tribal women in my hometown.

Since 1970, more than 10,000 Téduray families have fled Maguindanao. This is partly due to armed confrontations between the Ilaga (a Christian Militia) and the Moro (Muslim people in Mindanao). In addition, in 1996 the MILF established a base in our area and declared it a Satellite Camp. In 2000 former President Estrada declared war against MILF and overran our camp. We had to flee once again, and we still do not have permanent places to live in.

Indigenous people in the Philippines have historically been excluded from participating in governance and the electoral process. However, there is an opportunity for this to change. The development of the Basic Law of the new region of Bangsamoro has included a process of consultation with the population of Mindanao. Indigenous women were able to get involved in these consultations, in part due to a governance project by Conciliation Resources and the British Embassy,which included capacity building activities that empowered us to participate.

Indigenous women have been actively engaging in the on-going peace negotiations between the GPH and MILF, especially in the drafting of the new Basic Law. We have been sending organisational statements, attending public hearings and presenting our position in consultations on the Basic Law. We have submitted our proposed provisions for consideration in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

This is important as it helps to challenge the wider public perceptions of indigenous women as housewives who are confined to household chores.

Indigenous women play an important role in our customary traditional governance. We are responsible for settling conflicts, officiating rituals and acting as midwives when other indigenous women give birth.

However, despite our important traditional roles, cultures within the indigenous community continue to harm and disadvantage women. It is not surprising to see young indigenous women forced to marry men six times their age in arranged marriages. Rape is considered an ordinary case that is confined to the expertise of the tribal leaders and settled amicably. Even worse, rape victims are sometimes forced to marry the perpetrator because in our culture, rape is a form of marriage. Cases of incest rape are common.

With the prominence of alcoholism among indigenous peoples, physical and sexual abuse is increasing. These cases are settled amicably as part of our customary law, and are not known publicly.

The tribal structure is the biggest stumbling block to indigenous women's empowerment. This is why we need to actively participate in the codification of our customary laws to ensure that the issues affecting us are considered.

This is a chance for indigenous women to interact with governance structures outside the tribe.

For instance, many indigenous women are victims of discrimination and violence. However, they cannot talk about the issue openly because there's a tribal culture of mesala (penalizing) those who expose sensitive issues, like rape. It is forbidden and taboo to talk about sex. As a result, women who are victims of violence keep silence. Through the consultation, we were able to request that the Bangsamoro Basic Law have a provision on this. Without the input of indigenous women, this issue may have gone unconsidered.

We indigenous women are praying that our proposed provisions will be upheld when Congress enacts the final Bangsamoro Basic Law. In particular we hope for a specific provision on the protection of the rights of indigenous women.

We know the struggle isn't over, we only hope that partners and supporters will continue to walk with us in our journey. No war, no violence against women.

** TLWOI is a federation of 35 community-based women's organisations of indigenous peoples in the province of Maguindanao. Froilyn Mendoza is a member of the Transition Commission which implements the 2012 Framework peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Did this mysterious piece of debris come from the doomed ghost-flight MH370? (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of The doomed MH370 in this file photo. What caused the plane to disappear? Was it an accident, a suicide or a hijacking? A newly discovered piece of debris could provide a clue.

By Catholic Online, (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

French and Malaysian aviation officials have met in France to investigate a piece of debris suspected to be torn from the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. It is possible other debris will wash ashore in the coming days.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Conspiracy theorists try to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of Malaysian Air Flight MH370 - Did terrorists plant the discovered plane debris as a distraction? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Since the recent discovery of plane wreckage on an Indian Ocean island, conspiracy theorists have formulated several attempts to provide an answer to the mysterious disappearing of Malaysian Air Flight MH370. Some even claim the discovered debris was planted there by ... continue reading


Dancing lights in Japanese sky spark concern over alien life Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ten bright lights spotted above the sky in Osaka City, Japan, were recorded and posted online. Within the two-minute clip, the lights appeared to be dancing, puzzling those who viewed the video as to whether alien life is visiting us or the recording is merely a hoax. ... continue reading


Piece of Flight MH370? Mysterious plane debris washes up on Indian Ocean island that could be missing Malaysian MH370 Watch

Image of A sand sculpture urging all to pray for MH370.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Photos of what could be a piece of the missing Malaysian Air Flight MH370 have surfaced over the internet. The photo, posted on Twitter, appear to "a plane flap or wing that had washed up on a remote Indian Ocean island," according to Fox News. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


HOUSE OF HORRORS: 97 bodies of children, adults found stacked inside ancient Chinese house Watch

Image of In trying to determine the sudden influx of dead bodies, researchers came to one conclusion. The dead came in faster than they could be buried in a village that contained dozens of small, one-room houses.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers are baffled in a recent grisly discovery in northeast China. A small, 210 square-foot home in a prehistoric village has yielded 97 skeletons of men, women, and children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 5,000-year-old home housed the skeletal remains ... continue reading


Chinese Christians protest 'evil Communist campaign' to destroy crosses Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian leaders have set up demonstrations in eastern China to take a stand against the "evil" campaign to eliminate crosses; a plan many see as a coordinated Communist party attack on their religion. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - No less than 1,200 ... continue reading


Military combats return to Japan after seven decades of strict restrictions Watch

Image of

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in 70 years, Japan's military will now have limited powers to participate in military activities concerning conflicts, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe triumphed over public demonstrations and oppositions against the new legislation. The Prime Minister ... continue reading


Tibetan Monk Delek Rinpoche cremated in Chinese prison against family's wishes Watch

Image of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison and was then cremated against public wishes.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tibetan Monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's body has been cremated against the will of his family in a secret Chinese prison. Prior to the cremation, protests erupted after news that the Monk was killed while in prison. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Famous Siberian 60-meter deep crater mystery solved Watch

Image of Yamal crater B-1 not caused by meteor as previously thought.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A "never observed" process that has puzzled Russian scientists is now understood. Through an expedition last week, researchers found out that the massively large holes, appearing in Siberia, are not actually caused by large meteorites but a former mound of land covered ... continue reading


Indonesia's rumbling volcano causes flight cancellations and panic for tourists Watch

Image of Mount Raung has been heating up over the last few weeks.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An active volcano in Java, Indonesia has been rumbling and spewing ashes over the last week, causing flight cancellations to tourist hub Bali and other destinations. Transportation authorities decided to suspend flights because the amount of volcanic ash could be ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter