PASAY CITY – Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel reiterated that the culture and traditions of the different regions must always be respected under the proposed federal form of government.
Pimentel, during the Luzon leg of the seminar-workshops for journalists on Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context, stressed this is part of the proposal submitted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom).
“Once Cordillera will form part of the federated region, the assurance that their customary practices is explicitly indicated in the federal constitution provided they do not violate the basic principles of the constitution,” Pimentel said.
The senator was asked how the proposed federal government would treat the cultural and customary practices of the indigenous people of the Cordillera in terms of conflict resolution.
“Based on the proposal, Section 23 reads there is hereby created a Bangsamoro and a Federated region of the Cordillera which shall recognize the ethnicity, culture, religion, customs, traditions, language and distinct identities of these people,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel cited as an example the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law wherein the Shariah law would apply amongst two Muslims having a dispute while the national law would be applied between a Muslim and a non-Muslim or a member of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) but will recognize and respect customary practices in resolving disputes.
“If there would be a dispute between two members of a tribal group in the Cordillera, they do not necessarily have to go to court immediately. They can talk it over and look for a solution in accordance with cultural traditions practiced by our brethren in the Cordilleras,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel, considered the father of the Local Government Code, added this section was placed to observe the customary practice which immediately settles disputes as compared to the present practice of settling disputes in court, which worsens the backlog in the judiciary.