By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .
The House of Representatives highlighted the importance of social healing in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable areas during a committee meeting late last week.
This as the Special Committee on Peace, Unity, and Reconciliation adopted House Bill No. 5669 which seeks to establish a transitional justice and reconciliation program for the Bangsamoro.
During the committee meeting, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza extended his gratitude to the legislators for initiating the effort.
“We would like to thank the committee for pioneering this effort. With this proposal of yours, you will be putting in place an institution that seeks for our people’s social healing,” he said.
Dureza further stressed the importance of the bill not only to the Bangsamoro but to all peace tables involved.
“Social healing should not be limited to the Bangsamoro. If at some point we succeed in the negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, as we have with the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, and the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas, this national institution will be very crucial in their social healing,” he added.
Also present during the hearing were representatives from various civil society organizations and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), who expressed their strong support to the proposed legislation.
“We are happy that the creation of the Transitional Justice Commission is on track. We believe that national healing is very important, and transitional justice can bring about this enabling environment on judicial and non-judicial processes to achieve a culture of peace,” said BTC Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph.
The bill seeks the creation of a National Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission for the Bangsamoro which will supervise the implementation of the program.
Authored by Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, the bill seeks to promote the concept of transitional justice in Philippine society.
The aim is to address the biases and prejudices against the minority sectors and develop mutual understanding amongst Filipinos. (with reports from opapp)