KASAMA Vol. 19 No.
3 / July-August-September 2005 / Solidarity Philippines Australia
2005 INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM:
FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE
THROUGH VALUES, VIRTUES AND SPIRITUALITY
OF DIVERSE CULTURES, FAITHS AND CIVILIZATIONS
MULTI–FAITH CENTRE, GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
AUGUST 10 TO 13, 2005
Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace
The symposium workshop
“Traditional Ways of Resolving
Conflict among Indigenous Peoples”, referred to by Archbishop
Capalla in his interview, was based on a study “Management of
Clan Conflict and Rido among the Tausug, Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama and
Yakan tribes” conducted by the Research Centers of Ateneo de
Zamboanga University and Notre Dame University. Its aim was to gain
better knowledge and appreciation of clan conflict and devise more
effective methods of resolution and prevention. Dr. Ofelia Durante
(known as Bing by her friends and colleagues) conducted the workshop as
a participative exercise. Bing’s workshop notes are
Dr. Ofelia Durante
Lesson on Clan Conflict Resolution in the Philippines
The Philippines is a multi–ethnic and
multi–religious country. Its second biggest island, Mindanao,
is home to three major groups referred to as the island’s
tri–people. Based on the total Mindanao population of 18
million, the indigenous people, the Lumads comprise five percent; the
Islamized people, the Moros 28.23 percent or five percent of the
country’s total population; and the Christians, the settlers
and their descendants 71.77 percent.
The focus of this exercise is on the Islamized Moros and the Lumads.
The name Moro refers to 13 ethno–linguistic groups, namely:
Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, Sama, Sangil, Iranun, Kalagan, Kalibugan,
Yakan, Jama Mapun, Palawini, Molibog and Badjao. They constitute the
overwhelming majority in the provinces of Lanao del Sur,
Tawi–Tawi, Sulu, Maguindanao and Basilan and in Marawi City.
These areas make up the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a
creation of the 1986 Philippine Constitution .
The Lumads, the original inhabitants of Mindanao, make up 18 tribes.
Their ancestral domains are encompassed in 17 provinces and 14 cities
As pointed out by Gowing and McAmis (1974), outside the administrative
and political structures imposed by the national government, there was
no over–all political authority embracing all of the Moro
groups, and each individual group was broken up into one or more
principalities. All of the Tausug were in the Sultanate of Sulu; the
Maguindanao in several sultanates but only two were important,
Maguindanao and Buayan; the Maranao were extremely segmented as shown
in 1979 by the existence of 33 sultanates for a population of 61,000
persons. On the other hand, groups such as the Sama, Yakan, and Badjao
had no independent political existence and were subject people.
Under colonial rule, the Moros, the Lumads and the Christians have come
to be separated from each other by history and culture. Along with
their biases and prejudices, especially between Christians and Muslims,
they have come to think that they are peoples different from each
Muslim Mindanao is known for its troubled history. Aside from the
secessionist movement, private armed groups and colorful strongmen set
against a backdrop of poverty, underdevelopment, neglect and national
government manipulation are the major players in a region that appears
to be in perpetual instability. Clan conflict or, in Moro parlance,
‘rido’ is only a part of this complex web of
violence inflicted on Mindanao.
Rido is synonymous to tribal war. As such, it is of local significance
and not to be attributed or associated with the Moro secessionist
movement. The causes are quite different from the grievances of the
Moros against the Manila–based government.
A number of factors lend to the outbreak of rido. The issue on land
ownership is generally a primary cause. It has created disputes and
conflict not only among the Moro people themselves but also Christians
with titles and other papers issued by the government. Existing
political rivalries and the proliferation of guns have resulted to the
escalation of these local conflicts. Other contributory causes are
accidental killing, non–payment of debts, affiliation with
either the Abu Sayyaf or a paramilitary unit, elopement, petty crimes,
and drug–related cases. The bottom line is the need to exact
reparation for the damage inflicted on the family’s honor.
Today, rido has taken on the features of modern war. In feuds involving
large clans, battles are waged as conventional wars, complete with
defined boundaries, modern heavy weapons and the standard trenches and
foxholes. As pointed out by a mayor of Maguindanao, the only ones who
get hurt in this kind of warfare are the innocent and powerless.
Among the Lumads clan conflict does occur and this is referred to as
‘lido’. They, too, apply some traditional processes
in resolving their conflict.
Enforced in the Philippines is the Anglo–American justice
system. This is anchored on crime, punishment and retribution. It
operates on a ‘win–lose’ situation. On
the other hand, the traditional system erases crime, cleanses the
violator and restores harmony once reparation is met. As such, it is a
more positive approach to creating a
‘win–win’ situation. Moreover, the
traditional method of resolving conflicts responds to the demand for
cultural solidarity premised on the recognition and respect for the
culture and religion of the Moro people and the Lumad of Mindanao.
The exercise seeks to develop among the learners an understanding of
some indigenous ways of resolving conflict. Through some exemplars of
the practices of the Moros and Lumads of Mindanao, Philippines and the
sharing of the participants of their own knowledge and experiences of
indigenous conflict resolution in their respective countries, the
activity further hopes to nurture intercultural respect and
Two groups are formed among the participants. The first group is
assigned to discuss the conflict resolution of the Moro and the second,
the Lumad practices. Based on the information provided the groups are
expected to discuss their understanding of the resolution processes and
prepare a mural showing the conflict and the resolution processes. The
groups are given ten minutes to discuss and ten minutes to make the
Processing and Analysis
When the murals have been set, the participants are asked to view and
reflect on the concepts depicted in the mural. They are given the
opportunity to ask questions for clarification. Then sharing of other
conflict resolution (country experiences) will be entertained. The
learners will also be guided to highlight the differences between the
traditional processes and the current practices used in their
From the peace education perspective, the
‘win–win’ characteristics observed in
many traditional ways of resolving conflict should be highlighted. This
is in contrast to the ‘win–lose’ traits
of the so–called western model. The traditional way of
resolving conflict is shown below.
Already the most depressed region of the country, Mindanao’s
economy continues to retrogress due to various armed conflicts,
foremost of which is rido or lido. Being of pre–Islamic
origin, this practice has been going on for centuries, even antedating
the Moros’ armed struggle against the Spaniards and the
Given the traditional practice of resolving conflicts, most incidents
of rido or lido are settled through mediation and amicable settlement.
In mediation, the mediators do not only facilitate communication and
negotiations but also assume responsibility for raising the required
blood money or manggad. These mediators may be relatives of the
conflicting parties, the council of elders, tribal leaders, the local
chief executive, the military, and women with influence in the
community or area. Amicable settlement is invoked as mediators
highlight the value of personal inter–relatedness.
These, however, find very little significance in the mainstream
society’s processes of resolving conflict. Raising the
awareness and developing the appreciation of the citizens as well as
the government and civil society groups on the existence of such
practices will hopefully lead to more systematic processes of
addressing the Mindanao conflict.
Abinales, Patricio (2004). ‘Getting rid of
Newsbreak. October 25.
Burton, Linda & Moctar Matuan (2005). Choices of Response to
Inter–kin group Conflict in Northern Mindanao. A research
Durante, Ofelia et. al. (2005) Management of clan conflict and rido
among the Tausug, Magindanao, Maranao, Sama and Yakan tribes. A
Gowing, Peter (1979). Muslim Filipino heritage and horizon. Quezon
City: New Day Publishers.
Gowing, Peter and McAmis, Robert (1974). The Muslim Filipinos. Manila:
Solidaridad Publishing House
Gonzales, Francisco (1999). ‘Sultans in a violent world:
Rebels, warlords and ulama.’ By Kristina Gaerlan and Mara
Stankovitch. Quezon City: Institute for Popular Democracy.
Tan, Samuel (2001). ‘History and culture in the Mindanao
Conflict’. Paper presented at Silsilah Dialogue institute,
Zamboanga City, May 22.
Dr. Ofelia Durante is Director of the
Ateneo de Zamboanga University
Research Center; Visiting Professor of the Graduate Schools of Ateneo
de Davao and Notre Dame University; founder and first director of the
Notre Dame University Peace Education Center; facilitator of the Peace
Education Course of the Mindanao Peace Institute; Executive Director of
the Mindanao Peace and Development Education Institute; Member of the
Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research
Association (IPRA) for which she is currently undertaking a research on
Ways of settling
There are several ways of resolving clan conflict. The laws are
unwritten but the mechanisms have been in existence and observed since
time immemorial. Among these are:
1. Tampuda Ho Balagon (cutting of vine discord).
A thin rattan vine is placed on a table or log. Both ends are tied to a
chicken. Then the two parties cut the vine with one strike.
2. Payment of manggad.
Exchange of goods between the two parties connoting reparation of
damage or harm done.
3. With the assistance of the datu (tribal leader).
Datu mediates for the settlement of the conflict.
4. Without the assistance of the datu.
Minor disputes may be settled without the datu through pamalas or
offering to a diwata (goddess).
Ways of settling clan conflict among Islamized Filipinos
Clan conflicts are resolved using the traditional method of mediation,
not through the modern Western–generated judicial system. The
strategy of getting common senior relatives to serve as mediators
capitalizes on the value of inter–relatedness which is
anchored on the ideological concept of pehak (literally, the eggs or
gonads of a fish). The involved family heads (kamattoahan) and these
relatives, particularly those who command respect and are known for
their high sense of fairness are tapped as
The community’s council of elders may also be engaged as
mediators. The council which is either formally organized or identified
as the need arises is composed of traditional & religious
leaders, imams, barangay officials, elderly and other respected and
prominent persons from the government and the private sector.
Interviews and extracts from the papers of three other Philippine presenters will be printed in the next issue of Kasama
. In the meantime you can read these, and others, online at the Multi-Faith Centre's website at http://www.griffith.edu.au/centre/mfc/