The Bangsamoro Transition Authority has constituted a new Parliament Committee chaired by lawyer MP Anna Tarhata Basman and MP Amilbahar Mawallil as co-chair.
The Committee on Accounts and Audit shall have seventeen (17) Members. It shall have jurisdiction over all matters relating to the income, revenues and internal auditing of the funds for all the expenditures and activities of the BTA, and the other ministries, agencies and offices of the Bangsamoro Government.
The Committee on Accounts and Audit shall also have jurisdiction to examine and scrutinize the income, revenues, and the expenditure plans of all government ministries, bureaus and agencies of the Bangsamoro Government, including the audit thereof.
Rule IV of the PARLIAMENTARY RULES, PROCEDURES, AND PRACTICES OF THE BTA states that “Parliamentary committees are permanent committees which exercise continuing responsibility in the legislative activity of the BTA, and are hereinafter set up in these Rules. The BTA shall, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Rules, organize and adopt Parliamentary committees: Provided, That the Memberships of Parliamentary committees shall be on the basis of proportional representation affiliated with the Majority and the Minority of the BTA.”
In the first episode of Podcast Bangsamoro, Member of the Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil was joined by MP Rasol Mitmug Jr. to highlight Islamic mental health efforts in the region amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to MP Mitmug, addressing mental health concerns is of equal importance. Mental health concerns should be discussed and given attention despite the stigma on mental illness in the country especially now that we are facing a pandemic. His Office as Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member, together with the Health Organization for Mindanao (HOM), created an online platform which aims to respond to the common mental health needs of communities. Modules and materials have been improved to focus more on Islamic Mental Health (IMH) and are readily available on the IMH website and facebook page. As part of the IMH initiative, HOM will be training those who want to help in this effort especially those who have background in psychology.
When asked about his motivation for giving attention to mental health, he mentioned local experiences during the Yolanda disaster, Marawi conflict and Mamasapano encounter. The communities directly affected by these crises experienced depressive symptoms and other mental health concerns but less attention was given to that matter. Taking care of mental health can be easily overlooked, hence, efforts concerning mental health in the region should be initiated and supported. He further revealed that his Office is currently reviewing and checking codes, potential policies and laws that will give attention to this issue.
While challenges on mental health is a growing health concern in the region, it is a blessing that the Bangsamoro region is still on its transition period, thus, codes are still being drafted. Particularly, measures on mental health can still be incorporated by the BTA members which can safeguard the general welfare of BARMM constituents should another pandemic and even other forms of disaster affecting mental health arise. The implementation of these programs are without hurdles given the population, diversity of languages, number of practitioners, among others, but MP Mitmug is hopeful since efforts are being supported by concerned agencies and organizations.
The Office of MP Rasol Mitmug Jr. has turned over 84 personal protective equipment (PPE) to the municipalities of Kapatagan and Lumba Bayabao in Lanao del Sur last June 25, 2020.
Each municipality was allotted with 42 PPEs in various sizes. The donation was received by the rural health unit of Kapatagan and municipal staff of Lumba Bayabao. This initiative targets to ensure a better healthcare delivery to our constituents in these areas which includes a proper gear for our frontliners in battling COVID-19.
Both municipalities have expressed their gratitude for the support and vowed to continue their hard work in this time of crisis. This Office has been reaching out to our communities for the past months to extend relief assistance during this time of pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Parliament adopted and approved Resolution 223 consolidated with 241, commending the services of the Bangsamoro frontliners in the fight against COVID-19 during its session last June 18, 2020. MP Mitmug is one of the main proponents of the said measure.
Today, we commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre. We may not know all their names, but they deserve to be honored and remembered.
Over the past decades, we rallied fervently to have the injustices committed against our people be acknowledged, we fought hard to achieve a greater autonomy, to be given a chance at peace, and to aspire for our inherent self-determination—for this Bangsamoro Government.
As one of the many transgressions committed against the Bangsamoro, the Jabidah Massacre remains to be one of the large-scale human rights abuses that afflicted our people which subsequently led the Bangsamoro cause.
As members of the interim parliament, as one Bangsamoro, it is imperative that we take every step to ensure that NEVER AGAIN we have to see its likes again and bring these stories into the forefront of public consciousness. One of the measures that we have taken is the passage of a resolution on Jabidah Massacre last February 19, 2020, entitled, Resolution Requiring All Ministries and Offices Including Schools to Initiate and Develop Comprehensive Policies, Programs and Activities in Commemoration of the Anniversary of Jabidah Massacre as a Transitional Justice Mechanism.
It is only befitting to let the children of today be fully aware of the things that happened leading to the establishment of the Bangsamoro government. They will not understand and fully grasp the story behind the Bangsamoro Struggle unless we tell them the story ourselves. In this age of spin and misinformation, we must rise above the lies and propaganda to make sure our history will not be erased or twisted, and our people be misled. The grievances of our people are beyond the political dichotomy that divides this country. We do not succumb to history revisionism, today and in the future.
They say, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Dealing with transitional justice is dealing with a legacy of a dark past. Painful as it is to remember, but it needs redress to heal.
We should act on implementing the transitional justice mechanisms, the first basic right under RA 11504.
Section 1, Article 9 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, provides that the Bangsamoro Parliament shall enact a transitional justice mechanism to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people and the indigenous peoples, such as historical injustices, human rights violations, and marginalization.
As a framework for sustainable peace and conflict transformation, transitional justice is anchored on four mechanisms that primarily addresses the needs of victims: citizens’ right to know, right to justice, right to reparation and right to be given assurance that atrocities in the past will not recur anymore (guarantee of nonrecurrence).
Contrary to what others might think, the process of nation building does not abandon the horrors of the past, instead it recognizes its own place in the Bangsamoro narrative. This is not only a mere commitment of the Bangsamoro Government but a mandate as well, to achieve a justice framework actively addressing the legitimate grievances of the people.
We recognize the changes that need to be done, we work on to develop systems and policies to uplift and improve the state of our bangsa, and transitional justice framework is one step in creating conditions for a durable and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro. We have risen above the brutal and pointless violence already. Now we work to rehabilitate and rebuild our nation. Easy said than done, but we can never move forward if we do not take the first step.
And whilst doing so, we must remember. Never forget. Never again.
*This article was originally published in MP Mitmug’s Official Facebook Page on March 18, 2020.