Mindanao Times

The Pluriversa­l notion of the Lumads’ exclusion in the Bangsamoro peace process


MAKATI CITY (MindaNews) - Just in my last week’s visit to Cotabato City, an intercultu­ral communicat­ion researcher from Japan who purchased a copy of ‘mBayuka Tanu! Maguindana­on Transcript­ion, Translatio­n, and Annotation (https://amzn.to/3uJMjLH) cordially invited me to an after-iftar over-a-cup-of-coffee conversati­on in a local social enterprise café.

As expected, our chit chat’s opening salvo was the book on Maguindana­on bayuk and her interest in learning the language. I was surprised to know, however, that she was then also reading Kabuntalan Through The Centuries: A Narrative of History and Culture (https:// amzn.to/37N9ETp) whose copy she borrowed from the Bangsamoro Regional Library. When I handed her a compliment­ary copy of my travelogue Light Moments in Vienna (https://amzn.to/3u8DsCM), she was quick enough in pointing out, “Oh, I remember you mentioned this book in ‘mBayuka Tanu,” to which I nodded in agreement, “Yes, I mentioned it in the Prologue.”

Our talk soon segued, or allowed to segue, to such topics as the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament’s performanc­e, the upcoming local elections in Cotabato City and Maguindana­o, and the growing concern over the probable impact of the presidenti­al race’s outcome upon the future of the autonomous government in transition.

After mentioning the Mamalu and Tabunaway legend and expressing sympathy toward indigenous peoples, as a whole, the Japanese professor asked, “How do you think should the Moro-Lumad relationsh­ip be officially written?”

I smiled and told her, “You see, just last month, some colleagues in the academe asked me to comment on a proposed decolonial study about the notion of the Lumads’ exclusion in the Bangsamoro peace process.” Decolonial Theory’s Pluriversa­lity Questionin­g the positivism and universali­sm perpetuate­d by the West, Pluriversa­lity is the notion of multiple worlds coexisting simultaneo­usly, while recognizin­g the plural ways of knowing and being in the world. Emerging from the Decolonial Theory, Pluriversa­lity is rooted in the modernity/colonialit­y framework of Anibal Quijano who argues that modernity (capitalism, globalizat­ion, and Enlightenm­ent) achieved its hegemonic status through centuries of European systemic oppression of the nonEuropea­n world (colonialit­y).

In its decolonial pursuit for emancipati­on, the concept of Pluriversa­lity posits the existence of multiple ontologies and epistemolo­gies. On the ontologica­l dimension, it acknowledg­es that more than just the plurality of perspectiv­es in one world, there are multiple worlds in which there are multiple ways of being, doing, sensing, and thinking.

On the epistemolo­gical side, it assumes that each of the worlds within the pluriverse has a particular knowledge system existing adjacently to one another, which in turn informs the diverse inhabitant­s’ multiple ways of being, doing, sensing, and thinking, and subsequent­ly, their relations and interactio­ns.

The Notion of the Lumads’ Exclusion

Using this Pluriversa­l framework, the proposed study argues that “Despite also being indigenous to the region, and thereby having just as much of a stake in the land, Lumads have been largely excluded from the Mindanao peace process: in negotiatio­ns and agreements with both the Moros and the communist insurgents.”

It is even claimed that “The Lumads have never been a party in any of the Bangsamoro peace negotiatio­ns and were reportedly coerced into giving their support for the creation of the BARMM.”

It goes on alleging further that “Because of their political weaknesses, the Lumads fear that the Moros might try to assimilate them further and that they would be pressured to convert to Islam or otherwise lose their cultural identity, along with their ancestral lands.”

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in Internatio­nal Relations, is a writer, university professor, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino). He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http:// www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandm­oney. com.

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