Philippine referendum to give minority Muslims control over land, resources | Land Portal

The move is aimed at ending decades of deadly conflict and granting greater control over land and natural resources

BANGKOK - Nearly three million minority Muslims in southern Philippines voted on Monday in a referendum on autonomy, a move that is aimed at ending decades of deadly conflict and granting them greater control over their land and natural resources.

Residents in Mindanao region are being asked if they back a plan by separatists and the government to create a self-administered area known as Bangsamoro, or "nation of Moros", the name Spanish colonialists gave to the area's Muslim inhabitants.

A clear "yes" vote is widely expected, which would grant executive, legislature and fiscal powers to the region.

"This is a very significant vote that will lead to a participatory government that will ensure everyone is heard, and no one is left out," said Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, a conflicts specialist at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation.

"It recognises Bangsamoro people as a people with a distinct historical and cultural identity, and respects their right to their ancestral domain and resources, and their right to govern themselves," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Mindanao, the Philippines' second-biggest island, has mineral deposits worth about $300 billion, or 40 percent of the country's reserves, according to government estimates.

It also has among the highest rates of poverty after decades of separatist conflict, which has killed about 120,000 people and forced more than two million from their homes, according to human rights activists.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has backed the new region, saying it will bring peace and wealth in Mindanao, his home island.

The results of Monday's vote are due to be declared later this week.

A "yes" vote would mean Bangsamoro will have complete authority over land reforms and indigenous peoples' rights.

Land rights campaigners say tens of thousands of indigenous people have been forced from their ancestral land by the insurgency, as well as expansion by logging and mining companies.

The Philippines is the deadliest country in Asia for land and environment activists, according to Manila-based human rights group Karapatan.

Mindanao accounted for most of the killings last year amidst a government crackdown after martial law was imposed in 2017 following a deadly siege of Marawi city by Islamist militants.

Conflict over land in Mindanao was one of the major triggers for violence even before the siege, say campaigners, who have called for a community-led effort to rebuild Marawi.

"The new region will give priority to Marawi's redevelopment, as the Bangsamoro parliament will have the power to allocate funds for projects it deems urgent and important," said Amir Mawallil, a community youth leader.

"(It's) not just about addressing the peace problem in the region, but also about giving justice to the Moro people and indigenous peoples," he said by phone.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Erik De Castro

 Copyright © Fuente (mencionado anteriormente). Todos los derechos reservados. El Land Portal distribuye materiales sin el permiso del propietario de los derechos de autor basado en la doctrina del "uso justo" de los derechos de autor, lo que significa que publicamos artículos de noticias con fines informativos y no comerciales. Si usted es el propietario del artículo o informe y desea que se elimine, contáctenos a y eliminaremos la publicación de inmediato.

Varias noticias relacionadas con la gobernanza de la tierra se publican en el Land Portal cada día por los usuarios del Land Portal, de diversas fuentes, como organizaciones de noticias y otras instituciones e individuos, que representan una diversidad de posiciones en cada tema. El derecho de autor reside en la fuente del artículo; La Fundación Land Portal no tiene el derecho legal de editar o corregir el artículo, y la Fundación tampoco espalda sus contenidos. Para hacer correcciones o pedir permiso para volver a publicar u otro uso autorizado de este material, por favor comuníquese con el propietario de los derechos de autor.

Comparta esta página