10 August 2022

The Barangay Justice System has long been at the forefront of ensuring that Filipinos have immediate access to Justice for common conflicts arising from the communities and neighborhoods. In the two years that we have worked closely with the Lupong Tagapamayapa members of our GCERF partner municipalities, we have noted how much culture and religious tradition have permeated the experience of the Muslim Communities in BARMM about the Katarungang Pambarangay.

Unlike in Christian communities, Imams and Community elders have a unique role in resolving conflicts among neighbors and families in the Muslim communities. In fact, in the many stories we have heard, conflicts are brought to the religious leaders’ or elders’ attention before and they are brought to the Barangay Captain’s attention. We have discovered that in many small  Muslim communities  people still listen to the wisdom imparted by their elders and religious leaders.

While such a set-up can benefit the community,  we have seen some disadvantages. Among them are a) Some elders are not adequately represented in the Lupong Tagapamayapa  b) Some elders are not properly trained on legal matters that may arise from the settlement of cases.

At present, our Capacity Building Sessions and the Lupong Tagapamayapa would seem to help the Lupon of the above mentioned issues. They have suggested making it a point to have the elders or the religious leaders in the Barangay be part of the Barangay Peace Council. They have expressed interest in continuing their mediation training to become better at resolving community conflicts. They have admitted their weaknesses in documenting the cases presented to them. Nevertheless, they have shown their willingness to learn and improve.

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