Friday, March 27, 2015

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission conducts consultations in Southern Mindanao

From the Website of MILF

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission conducts consultations in Southern Mindanao

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission conducts consultations in Southern Mindanao

The Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), a body created by the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to recommend measures to correct historical injustices and address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, has been conducting consultations in Southern Mindanao.
Since last week, TJRC facilitators gathered peace stakeholders and representatives from different sectors namely women, elders, youth, Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders, Indigenous Peoples, regardless of religious affiliations in different schedules and venues.
The participants are coming from the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato and city of General Santos.
TJRC was created as a provision of the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the MILF.
The body initiate study and recommend remedies to promote healing of the physical, mental and spiritual wounds and to provide measures to address causes of conflict and to prevent their recurrence.
It will employ assessments, consultations or surveys to determine measures to address historical injustice, human rights violations, marginalization through land dispossession, legitimate grievances, and reconciliation and healing.
Participants from General Santos City related the human rights violations committed by the government troops during the martial law era of President Marcos where summary executions of either rebels or civilians were rampant.
They also related the Palimbang massacre where more than a thousand men and children perished and some Moro women were raped in 1974.
They recommend the establishment of Shariah Law in Bangsamoro territory which is appropriate for Muslim citizens in order to address crime, drugs, divorce, and other social issues like pre-marital sex among youth.
For healing and reparation, the participants stressed the best thing the government should do is to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law so that the Bangsamoro people can exercise their own governance, attain peace and develop their communities.
They also demand acknowledgement and apology from the government for the deaths of the Moro people particularly those whose rights were violated by government troops especially during the martial law period.
The participants also recommended that the government will make law for the mandatory Bangsamoro representation in the local government units, establishment of Bangsamoro Development Office under the local chief executives of the LGUs, and establishment of Muslim cemeteries in municipalities and cities and prayer areas in terminals, airports, hospitals and schools.
The participants also slammed the National Commission on Indigenous People for not recognizing the Maguindanaon among the IP tribes in the country, thus members of the Moro tribe are not able to avail benefits like IP representation in LGU and claim for ancestral domain.
TJRC is chaired by Mo Blekker, a special envoy from the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and members are Atty. Cecilia Jimenez (as GPH representative) and Atty. Ishak Mastura (as MILF representative) as well as Jonathan Sisson who serves as senior adviser.


MILF submits its Special Investigative Report on Mamasapano incident to IMT & Senate

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) submitted its Special Investigative Commission Report on Mamasapano incident to the Head of the Mission of International Monitoring Team (IMT) on March 22, 2015.
The MILF also furnished Senator Grace Poe with the copy of said report in response to the Senator’s request dated March 9, 2015.
The report was done by Special Investigation Commission members namely Hussein Moñuz, Toks Ebrahim, Von Al Haq, Ustadz Abu Ubaidah Agkong, and Ustadz Said Abdulsalam.
The report said the Mamasapano encounter last January 25, 2015 started when the SAF forces fired upon first the members of 105th Base Command who were on their way to Sitio Amilil to check local clashes (Rido). Two MILF combatants were killed in the assault.
The report said the BIAF members were justified in fighting back after it was fired upon first by the SAF commandos in Tukanalipao.
The report further stated there were 17 killed and 25 wounded Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) members. Three civilian casualties were identified as Badrudin Langalen (21), Sarah Pananggulon (8) and Mohamad Ambilang (33).
Langalen left his house early morning of Janauary 25 to charge his celfone at Tukanalipao market. He never got to return home and was later found dead with hands tied behind his back and with multiple gunshot according to the report.
It is believed that he stumbled with the men of 55SAC. His body was found in the site encounter together with the bodies of 55SAC.
Sarah was sleeping in her house in SItio Inug-og, Brgy. Pembalkan, Mamasapano in the early morning of January 25, 2015 when they roused from their sleep by the bursts of gunfire. They moved out of the house with her parents and siblings in order to escape. However Sarah’s body was hit by bullet and died.
The report points out SAF survivor PO2 Christopher Lalan for commission of human rights violation when he killed four MILF men sleeping inside the Langgal (small makeshift mosque) who were in no position to defend themselves.
The MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) undertook steps to effect ceasefire and prevent bloodshed, however it was hampered by weak celfone signals in the encounter site or by drained battery due of the power outage the night before.
The report said fierce fighting was ongoing when the CCCH and International Monitoring Team intervened and despite heavy fighting, MILF Base Commander Ustadz Wahid Tundok arrived at the encounter site to talk to some of the forces to cease firing before 1:30 in the afternoon. 
“However, most of the SAF’s 55 SAC had already been killed in the course of the intense fighting even before the order for a ceasefire was received in the ground,” according to the report.
The Special Investigation Commission found the following undisputed facts:
1.The PNP SAF did not coordinate their entry and operation in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano with the existing coordination mechanisms such as AHJAG and the CCCH of the Peace Panels.
2.The BIAF forces residing in Mamasapano were not informed of the PNP SAF operation conducted on January 25, 2015.
3.The MILF CCCH was the first to inform their counterparts in government of the unfortunate encounter in Mamasapano on the said date.
4.The MILF CCCH was the first to suggest to their counterparts in the government to immediately proceed to the encounter site to find ways to effect ceasefire and disengage the fighting forces.
The report said the MILF forces saw the bodies of the 55th SAC members were purposely piled which suggests they were used as human shields. As for use of unnecessary force, the report said the fighting became so intense at some point adverse forces were shooting at each other with only 3 to 4 meters distance between them.
It recommends MILF’s filing of protest regarding the violation of ceasefire by the PNP-SAF. Armed confrontation between the two forces would be inevitable without coordination. The SAF should also be held liable for the deaths of civilians Badrudin Langalen and Sarah Pananggulon.