Our CEO, Rev. Luis Daniel Pantoja, represented PBCI in a round-table-discussion on “Ways Forward for the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in the Bangsamoro”. The forum started with the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report of Atty. Cecilia Jimenez. Commissioner Jimenez highlighted the following findings of the TJRC Report:
Legitimate Grievances. The ‘legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people’ have historical roots and are understood as a collective designation for harms suffered whether political, economic, social, or cultural in nature, during decades.Historical Injustices. This refers to ‘wrongdoings committed or sanctioned by governments (Spanish, American and Japanese colonial governments and the Philippine Government) that hurt or harmed people repeatedly over time and were not (properly) addressed. It furthermore refers to “their perception of having been erased, excluded from public spaces, national narrative and history as well as having been labeled negatively that affected the Moros sense of self and culture, behavior, and relationship with others”.Human Rights Violations. This refers to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrests, rape, mistaken identities, etc. during decades until present time and in the context of armed conflict, to mass atrocity crimes occurring before and during the period of Martial Law. Direct violence and deployment of terror campaigns against the Bangsamoro resulted in ‘cleansing’ lands of their original inhabitants. Horizontally, clan violence remains a source of serious human rights abuse, including internal displacement. The cumulative effect of historical injustices and continuing human rights violations has had a dramatic impact on the life and consciousness of the Moro and the indigenous peoples.Marginalization Through Land Dispossession. The land dispossession of the Moro and indigenous peoples and their ensuing political, social, economic, and cultural marginalization refers to enforced privatization and titling, government-led settlement and enforced colonization through land laws. Marginalization as a result of land dispossession is understood as the impact of such policies on cultural identities and ways of living, on political, social and economic conditions, on ancestral domains, and on migration. The land dispossession itself has been systematic and is embedded in laws and institutions. Land dispossession has not only resulted in political and economic marginalization, but also in loss of social and cultural identity.
According to Commissioner Jimenez, the above findings were the consequences of three mutually reinforcing phenomena:
- Systemic violence by the State expressed in terms of political, socio-economic, and cultural exclusion and in the disproportionate use of direct violence;
- A pervasive culture of impunity that undermines the practice of the rule of law; and,
- Deep neglect by the State combined with the lack of vision for the common good.
“These phenomena,” according to Commissioner Jimenez, “have their root cause in the imposition of a monolithic Filipino identity and Philippine state by force on multiple ethnic groups in Mindanao and Sulu that saw themselves as already pre-existing nations and nation-states.”
Furthermore, TJRC reports that the convergence of the three above-mentioned phenomena has not only had a “profoundly negative impact on the people of the Bangsamoro, both historically and currently; it has also affected the ability of the Philippines to address ongoing other pressing political and socio-economic issues.”
The TJRC was created based on a provision in the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which was signed on 25 January 2014. Its mandate was “to undertake a study and to make recommendations, based on consultations and expert’s studies, with a view to promote healing and reconciliation of the different communities that have been affected by the conflict.”
PBCI will use many of their recommendations that we think are readily applicable in our Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community development initiatives on the ground through related programs by PeaceBuildersCommunity.Org and CoffeeForPeace.Com.