Feature: What is Task Force 211?
by A. Lumaque
Roxas City (14 February) -- Task Force 211 also known as "Task Force Against Political Violence" is a new government body tasked to address the issues of political violence and extra-judicial killings, binding both groups to work hand-in-hand in monitoring the progress or litigation of political violence cases.
The task force is a Presidential Task Force created by virtue of Administrative Order No. 211 dated November 22, 2007.
Its mandate is to "harness and mobilize government agencies, political groups, the religious, civil society and sectoral organizations and the public for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of political violence, the care and protection of people and communities victimized and threatened with violence, and the promotion of a culture of opposed to violence and for the advancement of reconciliation and peace."
Task Force 211 is chaired by Department of Justice Undersecretary Ricardo R. Blancaflor.
Recently, the Task Force inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the media and various law schools which joined in the crusade to solve problem of human rights violations, especially extra-judicial killings, unexplained disappearances and political violence.
The MOA calls for media volunteers and law students to be in partnership with Task Force 211 in monitoring cases involving political violence and extra-judicial killings ("EJK") pending before various prosecutor's offices and courts nationwide, all in the interest of transparency.
Under the MOA, accredited volunteers from the media and law schools shall personally attend the scheduled hearings of cases being monitored, apprise themselves of the proceedings, and record the incidents that transpire in the cases' respective Monitoring Kits.
For its part, Task Force 211 is under obligation to share information and documents regarding cases identified and validated as involving political violence and/or EJK.
"These media volunteers and law schools want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. That should set an example for the rest of us," lauded Blancaflor. (PIA) [top]