MANILA – House of Representatives Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Thursday urged his colleagues to support the consolidated measures that aim to establish a Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Program necessary to address grievances of the Bangsamoro people that happened during the war that lasted for decades.
Hataman said the proposed measure has long been overdue for enactment into law, but it remained pending in the House of Representatives since the 17th Congress.
“We hope that this time around, this measure will become law and start the process of healing for many of our citizens in the Bangsamoro region,” he said.
Hataman, former governor of the defunct ARMM, said it was a government commitment under the peace agreement to establish a mechanism that would address the grievances of the Bangsamoro people who became victims of injustice, human rights violations and marginalization that resulted in land dispossession.
In a hearing last Wednesday, the House Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity consolidated House Bill Nos. 4330 and 2975, respectively, filed by Hataman and Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Alonto, who is also the panel's vice chair.
A technical working group was also created to harmonize the provisions of the two measures.
Hataman said the bills aim to legislate an agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), to “work out a program for transitional justice.”
“A large part of this bill accedes to the recommendations of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) convened in 2014 to study and review existing research and policy interviews with more than 210 Moro, Indigenous and settler communities in Mindanao and Sulu archipelago,” he said.
“Simple lang naman ang sinasabi ng panukalang batas: hindi magkakaroon ng tunay na kapayapaan sa Bangsamoro kapag hindi maghihilom ang mga sugat ng digmaan at tutugunan ang mga epekto nito sa mamamayan. At para magkaroon ng paghilom, kailangan harapin ang nakaraan at bigyang hustisya ang mga pinagdaanan ng mga mamamayan ng Bangsamoro (The proposed measure’s provisions are simple: there could not be genuine peace in Bangsamoro if the wounds inflicted by war won’t heal and if its effects to the people are not addressed. And to have healing, we have to confront the past and give justice to the bad experiences of the Bangsamoro people),” he said.
The bills mandate that a National Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission for the Bangsamoro (NTJRCB) be established to implement a TJRC that aims to:
-- Provide venues for the victims of conflict to be heard and mechanisms for the investigation of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and enable inquiries into specific events of the armed conflict; contribute to the resolution of outstanding land disputes in conflict-affected areas in the Bangsamoro and address the legacy of land dispossession with concrete measures to provide redress;
-- Provide effective counteractions to impunity, by promoting accountability and strengthening the rule of law in relation to past and present wrongdoings, including crimes identified under international conventions to which the Philippines is a signatory; and
-- Promote healing and reconciliation among the different communities affected by the conflict.
The enactment of this measure, Hataman said, is long overdue as it is a commitment made by the government and MILF under the peace agreement.
It was first filed during the 17th Congress and hurdled the Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.
It was re-filed during the 18th Congress but did not even pass the committee level. (PNA)