INFORMATION BLITZ: Paalala sa mga OFW-members ng PhilHealth: Ang PhilHealth membership and contribution ay MANDATORY ayon sa batas kaya magpamiyembro at magbayad ng kontribusyon bago umalis ng bansa. Seguraduhin ang proteksyon ng kalusugan ng iyong sarili at pamilya.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bantay Bayanihan in Basilan bats for grassroots communication on peace process

By Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – The Bantay Bayanihan in Basilan, composed of civil society groups and some government line agencies, has resolved to pursue grassroots communication on the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

With the derailed congressional deliberation on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) due to the Mamasapano incident, the members have expressed concern over the uncertainties of events and the future of the BBL and its impact on the locality.

While the national debate centered on the alleged lies spread by some opposing sectors of the BBL, the local Bantay Bayanihan groups were wary about the decommissioning process and its implementation, over and above the various questions that continue to linger in the minds of Basileños and Isabelaños on the contents of the BBL.

During its March 20, 2015 meeting here, Basilan Advocates for Peace, Environment and Sustainable Development (BAPESDA) Executive Director Asrif Tindick shared updates on the “Bangsamoro Peace Process.”

He echoed the statement of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) that “the proposed BBL is one of the many target milestones in the peace process. It is a critical milestone, but there are also corresponding interventions to ensure that the process is comprehensive, relevant, and inclusive (hence, the socio-economic interventions, normalization, transitional justice, and confidence building measures). In short, the BBL is not the “magic pill” that will deliver ‘peace,’ but is one of the deliberate and synchronized interventions of the process.”

He stressed that the basic goal of peace process is, first, to forge a political settlement with the armed group so that communities can pursue their desired quality of life in a condition of peace and second is to ensure that the conflict affected areas benefit from the peace dividends of the peace table.

Margarita Auxtero of the Child Fund Philippines in Basilan also shared OPAPP’s updates on the development on normalization, the process through which the communities affected by the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao can return to a peaceful life and pursue sustainable livelihoods free from fear of violence and crime.

“But the normalization process is the most challenging of all in the peace process,” said Miriam Suacito of the Nagdilaab Foundation (NFI) who stressed the importance of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation component which hopes to appropriate mechanisms to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations.

At the end of the one-day conference, the group resolved to conduct grassroots information dissemination activities on normalization, especially on the issue of decommissioning. However, no definite dates yet for the said awareness drive. The participants also listed some possible questions and topics in the BBL and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that the community may have asked or had been asking.

Bantay Bayanihan is a civil society-led group for third party monitoring of the implementation of the AFP Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP).