Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Struggle for the Bangsamoro Right to Self-Determination

SALIGAN recognizes the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination, and the historical struggle of the Moros against legalized land-grabbing and displacement, subjugation of their national identity, and outright persecution and discrimination. This being said, the centuries-old war in the Bangsamoro homeland, largely situated in Mindanao, has reached a point where a peaceful approach could be a viable alternative for attaining the right to self-determination.  SALIGAN-Mindanaw supports the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. SALIGAN is one of the secretariat organizations of the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW), which is a network of peace networks in the area. SALIGAN likewise actively participates in the formulation of a Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) development agenda.


SALIGAN also works for policy changes that would recognize the use of local, indigenous conflict-resolution systems with the regional and national laws and structures.


Good governance in the ARMM


SALIGAN helps in building a constituency for accountability and good governance in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)— whether in the regional government or the LGUs found therein.  While facing the same challenges in the institutionalization of processes and mechanisms for transparency, accountability and participation, ARMM LGUs have the added challenge of making governance work in a context of armed conflict.  SALIGAN works with CSOs to raise the demand for good governance, while at the same time, providing technical assistance for LGUs.


In election periods, SALIGAN likewise does its share in providing for voter’s education, as well as election monitoring.


Prosecution of human rights violations


The backlash of the September 11 attack on the US is felt worldwide by Muslim communities, and Mindanao is not an exception.  In fact, Mindanao seems to be a hotbed for counter-terrorism campaigns, even before the anti-terrorism law was passed by Philippine Congress.   In their zealousness to apprehend suspects,  the armed forces and the police oftentimes illegally arrest innocent Moros, torture them into making confessions, and just totally disregard all the Constitutionally-protected rights of detention prisoners.  In many instances, abductions, extra-judicial killings and indiscriminate attacks on civilians are done with impunity.


SALIGAN seeks to end the impunity and bring the perpetrators to justice.  With Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and the Bangsamoro Lawyers’ Network (BLN), SALIGAN prosecutes human rights violations against state agents.


Defense and protection of human rights need to be in the agenda of Moro lawyers and professionals. Hence, SALIGAN supports the formation of groups, such as the BLN, and other law-school based organizations like the Ateneo de Davao Student-Advocates for Bangsamoro Rights (AL SAB’R), and Initiatives for Law Advocates in Western Mindanao State University (ILAW).


Gender Justice

Part of SALIGAN’s work in seeking justice is its advocacy for the rights of women, including Muslim women.  SALIGAN supports and organizes discourses on the rights of Muslim women and hopes to help in building a Muslim community (ummah) that is more dynamic, tolerant, and just.  SALIGAN thus helped in the formation of the Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro (Women for Truth and Justice in the Bangsamoro) as a vehicle for such an endeavor.


As a legal resource NGO, SALIGAN also works on the popularization and critique of the Code on Muslim Personal Laws (CMPL). It is also active in pushing for the agenda of Moro women in the lobbying for the Magna Carta of Women.



People’s Peace Agenda


Recognizing the need for increased and meaningful participation of civil society and grassroots communities in the formal and informal peace processes, SALIGAN-Mindanaw, as part of the secretariat of  Mindanaw PeaceWeavers (MPW), is monitoring the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MILF].  It is likewise part of the independent secretariat of the peace talks between the GRP and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng mga Manggagawa ng Mindanao [RPM-M].


MPW hopes to develop a people’s peace agenda which will be the civil society’s suggested development agenda for Mindanao.  This people’s peace agenda will be the result of a series of consultations with the different stakeholders of Mindanao, and will serve as a lobby tool to advance the concerns of the peoples in Mindanao.


Local Peace Governance


As our modest contribution to the various responses to address the current reality in Mindanao, SALIGAN-Mindanaw is involved in Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Grassroots Peace Learning Course (GPLC).


The branch facilitated the module on Local Peace Governance with the aim of building the capacity of the grassroots leaders in the area of local governance as they relate to people empowerment and the promotion of grassroots peacebuilding initiatives. The module also seeks to explore the venues where people can increase their participation in local governance towards bringing peace and justice in their community.