Political Life of the Indigenous Tribes of Bukidnon

  • Maximo L Gonzales


This study was conducted to assess the political life of the seven tribes of Bukidnon, namely, Bukidnon, Higaonon, Talaandig, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon, Umayamnon, and Manobo. The study utilized focus group discussion involving one tribal community of each tribe mostly located proximate to the poblacion. Interview of key informants, usually the village chief (datu or bae and members of the council) was employed to generate data on the ethno-political life of the tribes. A survey questionnaire was also used to gather quantifiable data.     The findings of the study showed that the main functions of the datu are to maintain the customary laws and social order in the community and promote good relationships with other tribal communities; and to arbitrate internal conflicts. As datu, he should possess wisdom, knowledge of traditional lore and mythology, eloquence, skill in euphemistic language, fairness in judging or arbitrating disputes, and possession of some wealth and property which he willingly shares with the whole community. The indigenous tribes have centralized form of political structure and headed by either a datu or a bae except for the Manobos whose village chief is a timuay or sultan. Internally-caused conflicts are readily resolved by the datu who is highly revered by his villagers while externally-caused conflicts are harder to resolve. Murder and wife-stealing used to be the principal cause of conflict among tribal members. Currently, however, the conflict is already related to land ownership.Keywords:  indigenous tribes, datu/bae (chieftain), autonomy, resolution, dictatorship, poverty