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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

HOLY SMOKES: Smoke from massive garbage dump fire in Mumbai seen in outer space Watch

Image of Toxic plumes of smoke sailing high into the heavens could be seen away from outer space after a massive trash heap caught in fire in Mumbai.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Toxic plumes of smoke sailing high into the heavens could be seen away from outer space after a massive trash heap caught in fire in Mumbai. The Deonar trash dump, Mumbai's largest landfill site, burned out of control in late January and went untended for four ... continue reading


Woman has ACID thrown on her face by husband over dowry argument Watch

Image of Officials say that the majority of acid attack victims survive their attacks - but the trauma haunts them for the rest of their lives (Zakir Hossain Chowdhury and Barcroft Media).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a horrific tragedy that points to greater national shame ... 23-year-old Jesmin Akter suffered burns to both her face and body after her husband splashed her with acid after an argument over their dowry. She is currently at a hospital recovering from the attack. ... continue reading


MAN TURNING INTO TREE! Bangladeshi man suffers from rare skin disease that turns skin into bark Watch

Image of Epidermodysplasia verruciformis or EV creates wart-like lesions on the body. Photo courtesy Zuma Wire/Shutterstock/REX.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A 25-year-old Bangladeshi man, suffering from a rare and inherited skin disease has been called the "tree man." His condition leaves lesions on his hands, feet, and other extremities that resemble tree bark. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Patient Abul ... continue reading


Teenager's ISIS-inspired attack plan using explosive-stuffed Kangaroos leads to arrest Watch

Image of Nineteen-year-old Sevdet Ramadan Besim has been arrested with four other teenagers on suspicion terrorist charges. (Pixabay)

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An Australian teenager has been arrested in connection with a fantastical plot to load a kangaroo with explosives, painted with the Islamic State flag, and set it loose on police officers on Anzac Day. Nineteen-year-old Sevdet Ramadan Besim has been arrested ... continue reading


Vowing to stop ISIS, Filipino Christian militia take up arms Watch

Image of Red God's Defenders are adamant about preventing the Philippines from becoming a new breeding ground for ISIS.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of a Christian militia group in the Philippines have taken up arms and were photographed burning the black flag of Islamic State. The "Red God's Defenders," as the militia group calls itself, is located in the mountains of the southern part of the country ... continue reading


ISIS terror attacks reach Indonesia (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS) Watch

Image of ISIS fanatics pulled weapons and attacked the citizens of Indonesia's capital (Xinhua/Barcroft Media).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Thursday, ISIS sympathizers armed themselves with an array of weapons and stepped forward to wreak havoc in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. Suicide bomb blasts and shootings ensued, leaving five of the attackers - and several civilians - dead. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Have scientists discovered a new species of humans? Watch

Image of The more we learn about human evolution and migration, the more we realize how little we know.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have discovered stone tools on the island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, which have been dated to at least 118,000-years-old. The find suggests that primitive humans inhabited the island long before the arrival of modern humans. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


AMAZING PHOTOS! Australian angler rides nine-foot bull shark like bucking bronco Watch

Image of Angler Stephen Pateman, believed to be from Grafton, New South Wales, is shown astride a large shark. Pateman wears a broad grin as the shark's mouth gapes open (Stephen Pateman/Facebook).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Startling images of an Australian fisherman riding a nine-foot long bull shark like a bucking bronco have turned up online. While delightful, the pictures raise concerns as the site of the photograph is a popular recreation waterway in Clarence River, ... continue reading


Possible MH370 find leads to unexpected discovery Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH370 continues as authorities announce the wreckage beneath the Indian Ocean belongs to the remains of a 200-year-old ship. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The flight went missing in 2014 with 239 ... continue reading


GRAPHIC VIDEO - Afghan lynch mob kills woman falsely accused of burning Koran

Image of Protests across Afghanistan erupted following the lynching.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cell phone footage of an Afghan woman being killed by a lynch mob has surfaced online. In March, an Afghan woman was accused by a Muslim cleric of burning Koran. While she was almost certainly innocent of the charges, a lynch mob formed and attacked her. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 5 of the best non-traditional ways to celebrate Valentine's Day
  • Prayer in Time of Anger HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Saint Valentine and why we offer roses
  • Stations of the Cross - Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to ...
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, February 14, 2016
  • St. Valentine: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 58:9-14
9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen to me, Yahweh, answer me, for I am poor and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:27-32
27 When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 13th, 2016 Image

St. Catherine de Ricci
February 13: St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her ... Read More