Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Froilyn Mendoza, Thomson Reuters Foundation

7/18/2014 (7 months 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 (7 months 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 February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Modern day plague: Swine flu deaths pass 800 in India Watch

Image of A lack of knowledge about swine flu in India is helping to stoke panic.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is heightened concern - if not outright panic at the alarming cases of swine flu being reported in India. At least 800 known people have died of the disease, and medical authorities there are struggling to contain the current outbreak. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Would you spend two months on a train? World's largest railway opens in China Watch

Image of China has opened a railroad that runs to Spain, in order to bring cheap goods to Europe faster and cheaper.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China has successfully built and tested the world's largest railway line, sending a cargo train on a 16,156-mile round trip to Spain and back. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The train arrived with cheap goods and returned with expensive olive oil during the ... continue reading


At nearly $305 million, Gauguin becomes most expensive painting of all time Watch

Image of The painting depicts two young women wearing brilliant colors before a landscape. One is in native dress, the other in a colonial, missionary style dress.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Paul Gauguin oil painting of two Tahitian girls, staring out into space with questioning glances, appropriately entitled "Nafea Faa Ipoipo" or "When Will You Marry?" has gone on to become this world's single most expensive painting. The nation of Qatar bought ... continue reading


Climate change disasters forcing Indian parents to sell children into slavery Watch

Image of Uprooted by climate-related disasters, many Indian children are tricked, forced into prostitution or forced labor.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Disasters resulting from climate change are pushing poor Indian families into poverty so deep that they are lured by traffickers into selling their children into bonded labor or prostitution, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said on Thursday. NEW DELHI ... continue reading


Name and shame: Smartphones join the forceful battle against sexual harassment in India Watch

Image of In India, there were 309,546 crimes against women reported to the police in 2013, up from 244,270 the previous year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Indian women armed with Smartphone's are using the influence of social media to fight sexual harassment by filming and publicly shaming men who molest them as greater awareness of violence against women spreads. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In the ... continue reading


Terrifying TransAsia plane crash, caught on tape, adds to the list of fatal Asian air tragedies Watch

Image of A TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 crashes into a Taipei river, killing at least 26 with 17 still missing.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

26 people are reported dead after a TransAsia Airways airplane crashes into the Keelung River. Following its takeoff from the Taiwanese capital Taipei, the plane clipped its wing on a bridge. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The terrifying crash, that leaves 17 ... continue reading


Angry North Korea makes first credible threat to U.S. in decades, officials alarmed Watch

Image of North Korea has vowed to annihilate that United States because of remarks made by President Obama.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

North Korea is up to its old and familiar tricks, threatening to attack the United States with nuclear weapons and cyber attacks, and rejecting any further negotiations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These threats appear to be a desperate act of retaliation ... continue reading


Lake Baikal, one of world's biggest freshwater sources, falls to lowest level in 60 years Watch

Image of Lake Baikal stretches for 400 miles through southeastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lake Baikal in Siberia, one of world's biggest freshwater sources is currently at its lowest levels in 60 years. A hydroelectric station is being blamed for the "excessive drainage" of the lake's resources. Communities in the surrounding area are under a state ... continue reading


Indian child workers rescued from illegal 'sweatshops' that make bangles Watch

Image of Police said the children were mainly from the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in northeastern India, and those traffickers had given their impoverished parents 5,000 rupees ($80) as payment for the children.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Police in a series of early morning raids in the southern city of Hyderabad rescued hundreds of Indian children trafficked and enslaved to make bangles. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Police found 87 children - mostly boys and some as young as 6 years ... continue reading


China's generosity is welcome - and very worrying Watch

Image of China then announced the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launched the Silk Road Fund, backed by yet another development bank. While none has begun operating, China has pledged more than $140 billion to these new institutions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Asian powerhouse of China has risen to the occasion to grant cash loans to strapped nations. China's purse strings are loose, and many of its loans immediately help the needs of ailing nations. While this has taken some of the pressure off the International ... 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, Ezekiel 18:21-28
21 'If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:20-26
20 'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 27th, 2015 Image

St. Leander of Seville
February 27: St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast - February 27th) Leander ... 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