Maguindanao has new justice advocates

As an indication of its active pursuit of sustaining justice and peace in the province, Maguindanao has recently mobilized 24 new Barangay
Justice Advocates or BJAs in the Municipality of Datu Abdullah Sangki. BJAs are community volunteers trained in mediation and counselling who help in the resolution of petty conflicts that could possibly escalate into violence. These new BJAs completed the Basic Certification Course
and graduated at the Agua Frio Resort Hotel in Marbel City last July 22, 2010.

These BJAs from DAS are among the 244 other trained BJAs in Maguindanao to date. The training was conducted by the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies and supported by DILG Director Isa Romancap and DAS Mayor Datu Akmad S. Sangki, who was represented by Vice Mayor Samsodhen Sangki during the BJA graduation ceremonies.

After a rigorous community selection process, the new BJAs became recipients of the basic certification training under the Barangay Justice for Peace Project (BJPP) funded by USAID and implemented by the Gerry Roxas Foundation.  The project aims to  promote community justice and peace by helping declog the KP and court dockets of petty issues through mediation and counseling. BJAs will work side by side with the Katarungang Pambarangay (KP), barangay captains and other local officials, as well as tribal, traditional and religious leaders in their respective communities.

The project was successfully launched in the province last November 2009 at the height of the controversial “Maguindanao Massacre”. It has steadily gained support from a growing peace constituency at the community level, spurred by the active involvement of the barangay captains of Banaba, Guinibon, Mao and Talisawa in the project.

This basic certification training is also being conducted simultaneously on 14 other municipalities in Maguindanao, which will have 500 trained BJAs by the end of September 2010. The project also aims to produce a total of 3,000 new BJAs with seven other provinces in Mindanao by the end of the year.