“Lupons are superheroes”, these were the exact words of Jolo Vice Mayor Ezzidien Tan during his closing remarks at the Barangay Justice System Workshop last December 14, 2021 at Municipal Gymnasium. The statement rings true especially to the residents of Barangay Bus-Bus as their Lupons had saved them everyday from injustices, and from the story I will tell you now.

At a fine day in Bus-Bus, just like any other regular boring days, two neighbors met each other. They were talking and joking until their jokes turned into insults which resulted to the two men despising one another. Their foul relationship went worse until one day, they got engaged in a fight using weapons this time, a knife to be precise. Seeing the severity of the case as one party needs surgery, the Barangay Justice System of Busbus looked into the matter carefully. For them, it was the worst case they had handled. However, with the excellent processes the Barangay Justice System of Busbus had been practicing since then, as well as the generosity of their Punong Barangay in covering other expenses needed for the surgery, the problem was settled at the Barangay level. If without the excellent resolutions made, the problem could have escalated, spreading the two men’s animosity for each other along with their families.

So, how did the Barangay Justice System of Busbus handled such critical issue well?

The BJS-Bus-Bus has 12 chosen Lupon members where each sector was well-represented. There are representatives from women, youth and also from old folks. Their reason is that BJS is for everyone and so that each issues could be addressed with utmost sincerity, trust and empathy because according to Mr. Ali B. Salapuddin, BJS-Bus-Bus Administrator, “awn mga parakalah, sila da in maghatihi” [there are issues that only someone like them could understand them better]. The complainant could choose from among the 12 Lupons, the 3 Lupons that would go through his/her complaint so that the fear of bias to the opposing party could be removed, and the comfort on raising his/her issue could be provided. In addition to their objectiveness, BJS-Bus-Bus are also composed of hard-working individuals who works around the clock, and even on weekends and holidays especially if there’s an issue that needs immediate resolution. Further, every proceeding is observed with due process, and is recorded and well-documented. Along with the remarks of the case- settled, pending or endorsed, these documents are submitted to the Municipal Trial Court quarterly.

In other words, the Barangay Justice System of Busbus addresses issues with objectiveness, dedication and accuracy. Because of these excellent practices, BJS-Bus-Bus became qualified for Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Award in BARMM for 2 consecutive years.  Just this month, they were processing for Provincial Validation (National Level) and for the Regional Validation (National Level).

However, all of these will not be achieved without great leadership and support from its leader/administrator, Mr. Alih B. Salapuddin. He was thankful that he could play a part on the operations of BJS-Bus-Bus. He mentioned that he was always there for the team, supporting and assisting them in their queries and endeavors that are related to the BJS as he could see the noble vision and purpose of the department. “Being the head of the most crucial department in the barangay, I am glad that I am able to monitor and spearhead BJS operations of Bus-Bus” he said.

When asked about the leader whom he admires the most, he did not battle an eye to think. He mentioned Sir Adi and Ma’am Almaida Undug. For him, he saw the qualities a leader should have in this power duo. “They inspire me to be like them in handling cases in the BJS-Bus-Bus- Calm, Impartial, Generous and Committed”. For Sir Ali, a leader should have the following values and traits: Integrity, Impartiality, Patience, Resourcefulness, Open-mindedness, Flexibility, Commitment and Dedication to help the Barangay. And these for him, shall be the traits of Lupon members. Community members shall be able to observe these characteristics in a person before they could nominate him/her.

For the Lupon members, their primary role is to provide immediate solutions to disputes occurring in the grassroots; and to resolve disputes fairly and speedily as salient part of the barangay’s function is to promote peace and harmonious relationship among community members.

Lastly, BJS Bus-Bus thanked Synergeia and GCERF for featuring them so that they can share their best practices especially to other barangays so that in the future, they can receive hand-in-hand the Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentive Award given by BARMM.

The importance of Barangay Justice System and its awareness and proper implementation manifests clear solutions for every issues and solving disputes at the barangay level. Thus, it implies the promotion for peace, equality and fairness especially to disadvantaged people deprived of justice system in Sulu. They serve as the justice league of the people; the unsung heroes.


Ama E’ Diamond sold bananas on the streets of Marantao before Covid-19 struck in 2020. Despite the difficulties that accompanied his source of livelihood, he remained grateful for having the strength to support his family despite his frail condition continually. Ama, already a senior citizen, also suffered from partial blindness. He would walk long distances each day to be able to sell bananas every day. However, when the pandemic and its accompanying lockdown hit Marantao, his only source of income was severely affected. He remained at home and joined the many other community members who had to rely on government assistance.

Last May 03, in the Spirit of the Muslim feast of Eid Fitr, marking the end of the holy period of Ramadan, Ama became one of the beneficiaries of “A GIFT FOR EID”. The SK leaders of Marantao spearheaded the project. For several days during Ramadan and on the celebration of the Eid, they went around the different houses of the vulnerable groups of the community to distribute food packs that the group solicited from various groups and organizations.

The laudable initiative of the youth leaders was an offshoot of the BRAVE for Youth program, which Synergeia conducted in the Municipality of Marantao , together with ten other municipalities across Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu from August 2021 to March 2022.

Project BRAVE provided young people from 12 municipalities across Mindanao with different opportunities to participate in governance and community development. It created spaces were young leaders interacted with peers, giving them greater freedom to express their ideas without inhibition.

The program strengthened the Sanguniang Kabataan ( SK), an institution in long been neglected in local governance. Project BRAVE harnessed the potential of SK in engaging the youth to participate in the prevention of violent extremism actively and become leaders for bringing peace and positive changes in their communities.

Project BRAVE used arts, culture, and heritage as platforms for mobilizing, empowering, and building the capacity of our young leaders. An appreciation of cultural diversity fostered fairer,

inclusive, and pluralistic societies. An understanding of their heritage strengthened their sense of identity and their desire to protect their communities by resisting attempts at violence.

The arts festival provided young people with opportunities to express themselves on the following themes: education for all, justice for all, good governance, unity in diversity, and good citizenry. SK

members gave meaning to the themes through drawing, photography, poetry, and dances.

SK members shared their advocacies behind their artworks. Finally, these advocacies were summarized into an action program that the SK in every village could implement.

( with reports from Saliha Masorong – SK President – Marantao)