Updates Per Peace Table

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PNoy Admin continues initiatives for transitional justice and reconciliation in the Bangsamoro—Deles

MANILA—The Aquino Administration has continued initiatives for transitional justice and reconciliation under the Bangsamoro peace process to promote healing of wounds inflicted in minds and hearts of many due to the decades-long Mindanao conflict, said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles during the opening of a two-day workshop on Monday, June 6, in Sta. Mesa.   

During the Conference on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation and Peace held by the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. and the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, with support from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in line with its mandate to mainstream transitional justice and reconciliation, Deles affirmed that transitional justice and reconciliation is “a major dimension of the Bangsamoro peace process.”

She outlined several measures that the Aquino Administration is undertaking to operationalize the recommendations made by the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) in its report publicly launched in March of this year as part of the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). Among them: measures to address the need to educate Filipino children on the true history of Bangsamoro, addressing the compensation package for victims of State-sanctioned brutality in the region during  the Martial Law period, and a clear map of the entire Bangsamoro region.

Created in 2014, the TJRC’s mandate is to undertake a study and make recommendations to the Peace Panels on how to address "legitimate grievances to the Bangsamoro people, historical injustices, human rights violations and marginalization through land dispossession with the view to promote healing and reconciliation."

“One of our real weaknesses as a people is that we tend not to look at the past. Every time there’s a problem we just say let’s move on and hope that it will disappear when it doesn’t,” Deles lamented.

“It’s good that we have [transitional justice and reconciliation]. The CAB gives you a Political Track and a Normalization Track with high emphasis on security and development, but we know there are hidden wounds there,” she said. “In this regard, marami na ring ginagawa (We now have many initiatives in this regard),” Deles pointed out.

“I could mention some of the things that are in fact already in the works. With the DepEd (Department of Education), we have the integration of Bangsamoro history into the K-12 curriculum. We have been working with DepEd even before the TJRC Report came out,” Deles said, noting that the template for the integration into the K-12 curriculum should be finished by next year.

“We also have a project with the Human Rights Victims Claims Board for Martial Law,” Deles said. “They are now evaluating the claims, and what they saw is that in the Bangsamoro in particular—but I don’t think exclusively—there are a cluster of claims that are connected to a particular incident. What they wanted was a fuller narrative of the incident so they can better evaluate the individual claims.”

“They have identified five additional areas [for research],” Deles said, adding “We are also talking to some civil society groups about taking the testimony of some of the living survivors or witnesses, including some AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) personnel who were involved.”

“We also have a discussion with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines which has this project of doing museums all over the country,” Deles added. “They have always wanted to do one in Mindanao. We had an initial discussion together with some of the NGO components—and definitely the Army will be involved—about doing an initial museum on the Bangsamoro, with the hope that there will be a network of museums in the different provinces,” she said, noting possible sites have already been identified.

“There are the information and education campaign materials that are being developed,” Deles added. “We are working with NDU (Notre Dame University) for a possible introductory seminar or workshop for the government bureaucracy on the Bangsamoro narrative. We hope it can be piloted before we end our term,” Deles said, noting that a similar program for the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, launched by the OPAPP and its partners, has already been accredited by the Ateneo de Manila University. 

“Of course, there are also initiatives from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). For the ARMM, one of the main things they want to do is the mapping out of the land of the entire Bangsamoro,” she added.

“For the Department of Justice, in fact we found that they can use as a model what they are now using with the comfort women, where there are reparations done to the comfort women through the Department of Social Welfare and Development—not really reparations but there are special programs for them. The same thing can happen in the Bangsamoro,” Deles said. ###