Maguindanao's barangay justice advocates undergo training in mediation

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/26 July) — Twenty-four new barangay justice advocates from a town in Maguindanao last week finished a basic certification course in mediating petty conflicts to prevent the occurrence of violence and lessen the number of court cases, the
Institute of Bangsamoro Studies said.

The new BJAs, all coming from Datu Abdullah Sangki town, are among the 244 persons who have been trained as mediators through the Barangay Justice for Peace Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Gerry Roxas Foundation, IBS said in a statement.

The role of BJAs is to promote community justice and peace by helping unclog the Katarungang Pambarangay and court dockets of petty issues through mediation and counseling, the group said.

BJAs will work side by side with the KP, barangay captains and other local officials, as well as tribal, traditional and religious leaders in their respective communities, it added.

The project was launched in the province in November 2009, ironically the same month that the Ampatuan Massacre took place.

It has gained community support owing to the active involvement of the barangay captains of Banaba, Guinibon, Mao and Talisawa, the IBS said.

Fourteen other towns of Maguindanao simultaneously conducted the same training to meet the target of having 500 trained BJAs by end-September.

The project also aims to produce a total of 3,000 new BJAs in seven other provinces of Mindanao by the end of the year.

Prospective BJAs would go through a rigorous community selection process before they may undergo the training.

The new BJAs from Datu Abdullah Sangki completed their training at the Agua Frio Resort Hotel in Koronadal City on July 22.

The training was supported by Director Isa Romancap of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Datu Abdullah Sangki Mayor Datu Akmad S. Sangki, who was represented by Vice Mayor Samsodhen Sangki during the graduation ceremonies. (MindaNews)