Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace launches publication

Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace launches publication

The Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace in the Phil’s., Inc. (BCJP) has launched a community newsletter on May 10, 2011 held at Pagana Kutawato Native Restaurant, Cotabato City. The publication, called Tiyakap Kawagib, will be published and distributed every three months.

Tiyakap Kawagib is a Maguindanaon dialect which means “Care for Rights”. Tiyakap Kawagib is an independent grassroots Human Rights Defenders that seeks to facilitate in addressing Human Rights Violations (HRVs) committed to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and civilians. It is also looking towards preventing abuse and advancing human rights.

Abdulbasit Benito, BCJP- Executive Director, said that the birth of Tiyakap Kawagib was the result of the aborted signing of Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) and the plea of the grassroots to form a community based human rights watch.

It was in early 2009 the Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace in partnership with the with Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) formed the Tiyakap Kawagib as “grassroots human rights defenders”. To date, its membership rose to 110 field volunteers who undergone basic training on human rights law and documentation. As a legacy, Tiyakap Kawagib was adopted as the name of the publication, Benito emphasized.

Danny Ambolodto, Tiyakap Kawagib volunteer based in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, shared his observation that the mainstream media is rarely highlighting the human rights violation committed to the internally displaced persons and civilians. He added that he is now certain that some of his reports could now be published through BCJPs publication, which named in respect to the commitments and gains of Tiyakap Kawagib volunteers, Ambolodto said.

Bai Noraisa Kusain, Tiyakap Kawagib volunteer from Pagaten, Datu Salibo Maguindanao is very happy knowing that their recommendation to have its own newsletter is now realized. We cannot rely on the media to publish our real sentiments and to report that our fellow Bangsamoro is suffering from human rights violations and other forms of injustices, she added.

The launching was witnessed by the Commission on Human Rights- XII, local NGO partners, line agencies including the International Non Governmental Organizations such as the Non-Violent Peaceforce (NPP), UNICEF and World Food Program (WFP).

During the program, Atty. Christina Haw-tay-Jovero, OIC- Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights, Region- XII gave a message of support to the Tiyakap Kawagib volunteers and appreciated their endeavors as community-based human rights watch. Atty. Jovero also commends the BCJP for having a community newsletter that would serve as the mouthpiece of the civilians and human rights defenders in the community.

Shadab Mansoori of the Non-Violent Peaceforce is grateful with the partnership with BCJP & Tiyakap Kawagib for working together in finding lasting peace in Mindanao.

Ustadz Macmod Tuan, Tiyakap Kawagib volunteer in Datu Piang, delivered the closing remarks and expresses his thanks for being part of the BCJP- Tiyakap Kawagib and assures his continuous support for monitoring human rights violations in their community.


Generation Youth Peace network pays courtesy call on MILF

The Generation Peace Youth Network or GenPeace led by its head secretariat and Program Coordinator Nikki Delfin of Gazton Z. Ortigas Peace Institute and Mirma Mae C. Tica, Program Coordinator Center for Peace Education Miriam College, paid a courtesy call on June 5, 2011 on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Vice-Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar at his office in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat.

Also included in the meeting was the local partners of GenPeace in Cotabato City and Maguindanao such as the United Youth for Peace and Development, Tiyakap Kawagib community based human rights defenders and Bangsamoro Youth Assembly.

The visit to Vice Chairman Jaafar is part of the courtesy and respect of GenPeace to the leadership of the MILF in its continuing struggle for the right to self-determination and freedomof the Bangsamoro People.

During the discussion, Ghazi Jaafar made his prelude by sharing the Bangsamoro history prior the coming of Spaniards. He specifically mentioned the book authored by Vic Hurley, the Swish of the Kris, that specifically dealt with the insurrection of the fearless Moro warriors in the Southern portion of the Philippines. Jaafar shared the narration of the author of the resistance by the Moros armed only with bladed weapons known as kalis or kris “as one of the most terrible offensive weapon developed by man.

Vic Hurley settled in Mindanao during the Spanish and American occupations of the country, principally in the provinces of Cotabato and Zamboanga, for seven years.

The meeting revolved mainly on the discussions concerning the forthcoming peace talks slated on June 27-28, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ARMM election, Moro political detainees and the role of women in the sub-state proposal.

When asked what will happen to the peace process if the counter proposal of the government is very far from the demand of the MILF, Jaafar quickly replied, “we are a legitimate and strong revolutionary organization and always prepared for any eventuality”. He confided, the MILF continuously conducting series of consultation to its forty provincial committees all over Mindanao.

He reiterated the proposal submitted to the government is the result of numerous consultations with the Bangsamoro people after shifting its position from independence to full autonomy.

Peace is only attained in Mindanao if Bangsamoro issue resolve, Jaafar stressed.

The meeting lasted for over an hour and GenPeace is thankful for the candid reaction of Vice Chairman Jaafar and looked forward to further its contribution for the peace advocacy and promoting culture of peace to younger generation particularly to the non-Moro sectors. GenPeace is a network of organizations and individuals engaging for a youth-led advocacy towards a just and sustainable peace in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao. It was formed in 2006 after the need for a more coherent youth peace advocacy and youth peace agenda. Currently, GenPeace is constantly engaging around 40 different networks and organizations from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with core leaders coming from 10 different organizations and networks with expertise in various fields such as Advocacy and Campaigns, Human Rights, Development, International Humanitarian Law and Peace Education among others.

To date, GenPeace has linkages with International Alert, Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, UN Development Programme – Conflict Prevention and PeacebuildingProgramme, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Manindigan sa Peace Talks, and the Mindanao Solidarity Network.

The successful meeting of GenPeace with MILF Vice Chairman was made possible thru the

Marines committed Human Rights Violations (HRVs) to civilians

The Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace (BCJP) received reports from Tiyakap Kawagib volunteers for the month of May 2011 of two incidents of human rights violations allegedly committed by the Philippine marines.

According to their reports, a certain Muslimin Mambulao and Paks Guiama, both civilian farmers, were arrested by elements of Philippine Marines without necessary warrant at about 6am last May 18, 2011 at Sitio Balangkayan, Barangay Dumpilas in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.

Innocent victims Muslimin and Paks were blind-folded while travelling with the Marines en route to their headquarters in nearby town of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat Province. Subsequently, they handed over to Police Mobile Group in same town at around 4pm of May 18, 2011.

The report cited that Muslimin and Paks confided of experiencing severe torture and physically harmed by the marines and the police. The victims also said they were warned by the Marines and Police elements not to report the physical harm inflicted them. No reason was cited for the warning.

In a related development, Usman Guiamadel, reportedly member of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was arrested by elements of the MBLT-1 without warrant of arrest at around 8pm last may 26, 2011 at Barangay Poblacion in Lebak.

According to sources, an informant told the Marines that Usman Guiamadel was Basit Usman, who is wanted for several criminal cases and alleged links to international terrorism. Without due process, the Marines arrested the innocent Usman based on unsubstantiated information. A day after his arbitrary arrest, Guiamadel was brought to the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Manila.

According to the MILF, the arrest of Guimadel is a blatant violation of human rights and the ceasefire accord between the government and the MILF. These arbitrary arrests committed by Marines undermine the ceasefire and the GPH – MILF Peace Process, notwithstanding the fact that due process of law was not observed.

Meantime, MILF will file a complaint against the government for this case that purportedly constituted violations to the GPH – MILF Agreement on Civilian Protection.