Gov't eyes programs for Bangsamoro people even without BBL

Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2016 09:01 PM

MAKATI CITY - The Philippine government will pursue programs for transitional justice and reconciliation for the Bangsamoro people despite the absence of a Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Philippine government peace panel member Senen Bacani said the government is already taking steps to ensure that the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) recommendation is implemented and by the end of the Aquino administration, a full progress report will be made.

The TJRC presented today its report during an event held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

The TJRC was created under the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), mandated to undertake a study and to make recommendations based on consultations and experts studies with a view to promote healing and reconciliation of the different communities that have been affected by the conflict. 

The TJRC report proposes appropriate mechanisms to address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, address human rights violations, including marginalization through land dispossession.

"Without justice and reconciliation, there can be no true peace. Without justice and reconciliation, the most we can hope for is nothing but a prolonged ceasefire where the wounds of war never heal," Bacani said.

Bacani said if society is to build a future that the people want, everyone must come to terms with the past.

The peace panel member echoed the sentiment of negotiators and the Bangsamoro people with regard to the non-passage of the BBL in Congress. He said the peace panels and stakeholders continue to work and pray for the passage of the BBL in the next Congress. Despite the absence of the law, Bacani said the recommendations of the TJRC can still be pursued.

"In fact, we have received instructions from the Executive Secretary. Now I'm talking to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, to try to push to the different agencies of government, many recommendations contained in the TJRC report. So OPAPP will be doing that over the next few weeks, try to call meetings with the different agencies of government who may be involved in transitional justice and reconciliation." 

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Bacani cited a couple of programs that can be done initially to fulfill the recommendations of the TJRC.

"Those which are really being done by existing government institutions like the National Historical Commission, probably memorialization work. I think DepEd, probably some review of the curriculum, it's even timely because it's vacation time. Basically the intent is there, in this curriculum, to include the Bangsamoro history," said Bacani.