BARMM lawmakers push to establish Transitional Justice Reconciliation mechanisms

COTABATO CITY – To address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, historical injustices, human rights violations, and marginalization through land dispossession, some members of the Bangsamoro Parliament pushed for the establishment of Transitional Justice and Reconciliation (TJR) mechanisms.

The principal author of the four legislative measures, Minority Leader Atty. Laisa Alamia said that one of the actions the regional government must do is to empower the Bangsamoro people as active participants in the collective pursuit of transitional justice.

 “This is crucial if we are to restore and reinforce relationships anchored by faith and confidence among our region’s diverse communities, which will then enhance social cohesion during the process of political transition,” Atty. Alamia said.

She emphasized that the institutionalization of the TJR mechanisms is fundamental to the peacebuilding process.

Among the proposed legislative measures on TJR includes strengthening the regional TJR program, providing benefits for the Bangsamoro veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat, creating the regional TJR Commission, establishing Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program, and providing for the documentation of human rights violations during the armed conflict in Mindanao.

On strengthening the regional TJR program and creating the TJR Commission

The proposed Parliament Bill 140 aims to establish a Regional Transitional Justice Program to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people.

It also aims to provide venues for the victims of conflict to be heard and mechanisms for investigating serious violations of international human rights law and allowing inquiries into specific events of the armed conflict.

The bill also proposed creating a Regional TJR Commission on the Bangsamoro, which will serve as the primary organ of the Bangsamoro government in designing, formulating, and implementing transitional justice and reconciliation programs and mechanisms.

In crafting the mechanisms, the Regional Commission shall be guided by a framework dealing with the past that respects, protects, and fulfills the right to truth, justice, and reparation of the victims and ensures non-recurrence of any violation.

On establishing the Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program

The Bangsamoro Organic Law places health services within the powers and jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro government, ensuring and supporting the promotion of health and safety in the region.

The proposed Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program aims to establish a health and social protection program to enable the conflict-affected population of the Bangsamoro to live decent lives by assisting them in accessing quality and affordable health care.

Key components of the program are a health card system that will provide cardholders with subsidized health care services, an efficient network of institutional health care providers, a system of contracting private health care facilities, multi-sectoral and progressive effort to improve public health facilities, and sustainable funding through earmarked revenues or shares in revenues.

Beneficiaries of the program will be former combatants, their dependents, human rights violation victims, and individuals displaced in the region due to armed conflict or clan feud.

On providing documentation of human rights violations

“Establishing a system for comprehensive human rights violations documentation across the region is integral to the truth-seeking process in the Bangsamoro,” MP Alamia said.

Under the proposed Parliament Bill 142, the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission is tasked with establishing the facts about incidents and allegations of human rights violations, creating a database of human rights violations, including a registry and sectoral mapping of identified victims.

In the process of documenting and investigating past human rights violations, the proposed bill will focus on the following “emblematic cases in the past”:

Jabidah Massacre; the burning of Jolo in 1974, Malisbong Massacre; campaign of Ilaga in Mindanao in 1970-1972; Manili Massacre; Massacres in Lamitan City, Tuburan, and Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat; Maguindanao Massacre; killings by the SCAA employed by David Consunji Inc; Tingin-Tingin Massacre; Pata Massacre; fight erupted in Upi and Cotabato in 1970-1971; after the Ilaga launched its campaign of terror against the Moro and Indigenous civilian population; MNLF clashed with the AFP before 1977; clashes between government and MILF between 1996 and 2000; and fight between military and rebel forces in February 2003 and August 2008.

As stated in the proposed bill, it is the Bangsamoro government’s responsibility to ensure that the recognition of past human rights violations and the victims are included in the development of the Bangsamoro Historical Memory.

On providing benefits for Bangsamoro veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat

With the aim of establishing, developing, and promoting a perfect pension system that will cater to the needs of Mujahideen and Mujahidat of the Bangsamoro, the proposed Parliament Bill 143 was also introduced in the plenary.

Mujahideen and mujahidat, as defined on the bill, are the male and female combatants who, in the service of the Moro revolutionary fronts, took part in the protracted wars for self-determination between the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine government.

This bill seeks to provide benefits for the mujahideen and mujahidat who have not been found guilty of a gross human rights violation while in the service, as certified by the BHRC or CHR.

Non-pension benefits include education, burial, and hospitalization, while pension benefits include old age, death, and disability.

These measures, according to Atty. Alamia, will help address generational concerns like poverty and hunger, entrenched in the region’s history of violence and conflict.

Other authors of the legislative measures are Majority Leader Atty. Lanang Ali Jr., Atty. Rasol Mitmug, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, Rasul Ismael, Amilbahar Mawallil, Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, and Engr. Don Loong. (Publication and Media Relations Division)

*Originally published by the BTA-Publication and Media Relations Division (

BARMM solon pushes for creation of regional ecozone authority

COTABATO CITY – A bill has been filed with the regional parliament seeking to propel economic development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the creation of a regional ecozone agency.

On Friday, Member of Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil, a former journalist-turned-BARMM legislator, said he filed Parliament Bill 129, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Act of 2021, to create the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA).

“The creation of the BEZA will generate jobs, especially in the rural areas, increase their productivity and their individual and family income, and ultimately to improve the level and quality of their living condition,” Mawallil said of the proposal he submitted before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority plenary on Thursday afternoon.

In particular, he said the bill intends to promote the flow of investors into the region, which would then generate employment opportunities for the Bangsamoro people and ensure that products unique to the region gain considerable access to the domestic and global markets.

“Upcoming economic zones that will be established in the region shall be developed into decentralized, self-reliant, and sustainable agro-industrial and commercial investment centers, which shall be operated and treated as a separate customs territory,” he said.

Once formed, the Bangsamoro economic zones, which will be developed in different key areas across the region, will assist the regional government to entice international markets, as well as local and foreign investors, to take notice of the resources and investment desirability of the BARMM.

The local economic zones are also expected to facilitate the marketing and export of goods and services produced by several industries.

Mawallil said the emerging global and regional opportunities for Halal and Islamic finance, as well as the strong support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to peace and development, promises well for the region’s socio-economic development, through the creation of the BEZA.

The lawmaker from Sulu said he is confident and optimistic that the passage of the BEZA Act will capitalize on the rich natural resources that BARMM has, in addition to several comparative advantages that can be utilized to improve the current state of the region, its government, and its people.

The bill is supported and co-sponsored by MPs Laisa Alamia, Baintan Ampatuan, Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Abraham Burahan, and Sittie Shahara Mastura. (PNA)

*Originally published on Philippine News Agency (

Bangsamoro Parliament pushes for more hospital creation, improvement in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur

COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Parliament, which continues to prioritize the health care needs of the Bangsamoro people, has pushed for more hospital buildings and upgrades.

“A recent visit by the members of the Parliament in various areas revealed the need for the public infrastructure that will serve its constituents. One of the recommendations was establishing a municipal hospital that will answer the medical needs of constituents,” Parliament member Atty. Maisara Damdamun-Latiph, proponent of two hospital bills, said.

Three hospital bills were discussed in the plenary, one of which aimed to upgrade a district hospital in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, with 100 bed-capacity, and the other two aimed to establish municipal and provincial hospitals in Lanao del Sur.

The Datu Odin Sinsuat District Hospital now has a bed limit of 50, but according to Latiph, this is no longer sufficient to accommodate the high influx of patients requiring health care.

She said that increasing the hospital’s capacity to 100 and adding medical staff will provide adequate health care to a more significant number of residents in the community.

Similarly, the establishment of municipal and provincial hospitals, both with 25 beds in LDS, aspires to serve the people with “highly accessible, affordable, comprehensive total health care services.”

Parliament Bill 126, a measure eyeing for improving the district medical facility in DOS, was introduced in the first reading by MPs Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas, Engr. Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, and Dr. Susana Anayatin.

While Parliament Bills 114 and 123, which seek to create hospitals in LDS, were tackled in the second reading.

Both were referred to committees on health and finance, budget, and management.

MPs Atty. Maisara Damdamun-Latiph and Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas principally authored the bills with MPs Ziaur-Rahman Adiong, Hadji Abduladzis Esmael, Faiz Allaudin, Don Mustapha Loong, Sultan Edrieza Rimbang, Muslima Asmawil, Dr. Susana Anayatin, Narciso Yu Ekey, Alzad Sattar, Mudjib Abu, Abdulmuhumin Hashim, Sittie Shahara Mastura, Paisalin Tago, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Suwaib Oranon, Eddie Alih, Ibrahim Ali, Melanio Ulama, Said Salendab, Aida Silongan, Romeo Sema, Ali Sangki, Ali Salik, Bainon Karon, and Bai Maleiha Candao as co-authors. (Publication and Media Relations Division)

*Originally published by the BTA-Publication and Media Relations Division (

Bangsamoro parliament condemns spate of violence in MSU-Marawi, Maguindanao town

COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro parliament has expressed condemnation over recent acts of violence in Marawi City and Datu Piang town, Maguindanao, resulting in the loss of innocent lives.

The parliament’s sentiment was contained in two resolutions passed on Wednesday (Sept. 22) urging the Bangsamoro government, through the Office of the Chief Minister, relevant ministries, and constituent local governments to develop a concrete action plan to promote and protect the rights of the victims.

On Sept. 14, unidentified men shot and killed two students inside the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus in Marawi, sowing fear among thousands of other students and faculty.

Hamza Rauf, 25, a physical education student, and Omar Zinal, 23, an engineering student, were walking back to their boarding house when shot early in the evening.

The parliament members urged the ministries of education, local government, public order and safety, and the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission to provide “appropriate” support to MSU and other local institutions in bringing justice to the victims’ families.

On Sept. 18, four days after the attack in MSU-Marawi, an improvised bomb was blasted in a covered court in Datu Piang town, Maguindanao targeting some members of the LGBTQ+ community who were playing volleyball, injuring eight persons, one of whom later died.

The following day, another member of the LGBTQ+ community was murdered in her home by an unidentified assailant.

Member of Parliament (MP) Susana Anayatin, one of the authors of the approved resolution, said these alleged hate crimes must be stopped, emphasizing that people, regardless of sexual preference, “must be given protection and must feel protected by the community and the government.”

“The Bangsamoro government must pursue an investigation, establishing whether the victims were targeted based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” read one resolution.

This ensures that LGBTQ+ people are protected from illegal acts and prevent discrimination, harassment, and inhumane and unfair treatment.

“No one has the license to unfairly treat any person on account of race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs or sexual preference. The freedom to choose particularly on sexual preference is internationally recognized, and their rights ought to be respected,” the resolution further read.

The resolution condemning the killing of MSU students were introduced by MPs Rasol Mitmug Jr., Laisa Alamia, Suharto Ambolodto, Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, Don Loong, Rasul Ismael, Amir Mawallil, and Punduma Sani.

The resolution condemning the acts of violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community was sponsored by MPs Anayatin, Maisara Latiph, Bainon Karon, Muslima Asmawil, and Narciso Ekey.

BARMM solons push for creation, upgrading of health facilities

COTABATO CITY – To provide the people of Tawi-Tawi greater access to health services, a group of lawmakers in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) filed a bill establishing a health facility in the island town of Sitangkai.

Another regional legislator also filed a separate bill upgrading the Balindong Municipal Hospital (BMH) in Lanao del Sur to address the rising demand for health services.

Two bills were filed before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) parliament on Wednesday.

The Parliament Bill (P.B.) 128, creating a general hospital in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, was introduced on first reading.

Currently, only the Alawadin T. Bandon Sr. Municipal Hospital is operating in Sitangkai.

On the other hand, P.B. 102, which seeks to upgrade the existing BMH in Lanao del Sur from its present 10-bed capacity to a 50-bed capacity district hospital, was presented on second reading and referred to committees on health and finance, budget, and management.

Members of Parliament (MPs) Amilbahar Mawallil, Laisa Alamia, Baintan Ampatuan, Don Mustapha Loong, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Suharto Ambolodto, Abraham Burahan, and Sittie Shahara Mastura authored the bill creating a new health facility in Tawi-Tawi.

MP Saffrullah Dipatuan, meanwhile, filed P.B. 102. Sitangkai is one of Tawi-Tawi’s most populated island towns.

It is located in the southernmost part of the Philippines, close to Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Providing medical services should be a priority for the Bangsamoro region—especially in Sitangkai,” Mawallil said in a statement.

Mawallil said as the Covid-19 virus continues to rise across the BARMM, most hospitals had reached their capacity limit.

The BMH has been obligated to render services that exceed its approved bed capacity.

“This is based on the Ministry of Health (MOH)-BARMM hospital statistics report in 2019,” Dipatuan said in a statement.

He said if the existing BMH is upgraded more patients would be catered. To date, more than 12 bills are in the plenary all seeking the improvement and establishment of hospitals within the region.

Aside from passing legislation, the BARMM government provides health assistance to frontline health workers and patients.

The MOH-BARMM had extended various interventions to hospitals that include ambulances, appropriation of cash aids, and distribution of medical supplies such as oxygen tanks, among others, in recent months. (PNA)

*Originally published on Philippine News Agency (