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News :: Human Rights : International : Police and Prisons : Social Welfare : War and Militarism
Mindanao, Philippines: An Appeal for All-out Justice; All-out Peace
07 Feb 2015
Today, we reiterate the collective call to give justice to all who have perished in this tragedy and to ask that we recommit ourselves to a lasting peace in Mindanao.
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On Friday, we joined the entire nation in honoring the fallen Philippine National Police- Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers and all the victims of the Mamasapano violence.

Today, we reiterate the collective call to give justice to all who have perished in this tragedy and to ask that we recommit ourselves to a lasting peace in Mindanao.

Thus, we call on both the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to establish the accountability of all those responsible for this unfortunate incident, from the reportedly uncoordinated and flawed police operation on the part of the government to the alleged disproportionate armed response of the MILF to a limited extraction operation and its failure to prevent the refuge of terrorists within its territory. We also call for a truly impartial Board of Inquiry (BoI) that includes members of the civil society and the Muslim community that will ferret out the truth from this incident. All relevant layers of authority and accountability on both sides must be held to account for what appears to be serious lapses of judgment and of command at critical times of the encounter.

Additionally, the Aquino government must answer allegations that the United States military had a role in, if not "directly supervised," the police operation. The allegations are serious, and plausible, since the "high-value targets" were on Washington's most wanted terrorist list and US military personnel were reported to be among the first to help retrieve the fallen SAF troopers.

However, even as we express our indignation at this tragedy and the circumstances surrounding it, we ask our people and our national leaders to summon sobriety and not let anger and prejudice lead us from the path of peace.

Peace in Mindanao, and the entire country, as a whole, is of transcendental importance. Without peace, there will be no reason for people to cast their guns from their hands and the hate from their hearts. Without peace, we stand to witness a repeat of such a tragedy. Without peace, we cannot speak of the development of the peoples of Muslim Mindanao. And for that matter of our country as a whole, since the issue of human development and of social justice touches us all.

Thus, Mamasapano should not be used as a reason to stall the progress of the peace process in Mindanao of which the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is critical. We must not allow the peace-making to be hijacked by those who stand to lose from a peaceful and developed Mindanao or by the misguided who believe that killing off our Muslim brothers and sisters is the path to national solidarity or those who would use the armed conflict in Mindanao for political ends.

We are particularly disappointed by lawmakers who withdrew their support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) without critical reflection on its longer-term effects to our country, especially Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos for postponing the Senate hearings on the BBL. His action directs us away from peace and brings us back to a dictatorial past when the modern armed conflict in Mindanao and other insurgencies reached their peak and which the Bangsamoro peace process hopes to finally end.

We ask the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to stay strong in the path to lasting peace and justice that our people want and to give their support for the passage of the proposed BBL.

Peace in Mindanao is the only option. A stop to the deaths of “Filipino vs. Filipino” in the battlefields of Mindanao and the building of a progressive and equitable society are ultimately the best way to honor and to render justice to the SAF-PNP troopers and all those who died in Mamasapano.

Let us all march toward all-out justice and all-out peace.

Akbayan (Citizens Action Party)


We won’t get justice by counting more dead; war is not the answer

By Labor Party - Philippines

Partido Manggagawa (PM) joins the nation in mourning the death of SAF 44. As breadwinners, husbands, and brothers to their families, their death is certainly a big loss, a pain that is hard and long to overcome.

And as soldiers who were trained how to survive under the most difficult situations, their undeserved deaths cry for justice. Who were the officers in charge? Who were the people accountable for the Mamasapano debacle? Was there a foreign hand behind that operation?

We continue to ask the same questions as we join the people in demanding justice and accountability from both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Their separate investigations must be done in good faith and in soonest possible time. An independent fact finding body can also be organized to ensure fairness and objectivity in the conduct of investigations.

But in seeking justice, we express our strong disagreement to those who call for all-out war to exact retribution. War is not the solution. Justice, we believe, should not come as a consequence of another war. We don’t get justice by counting more dead as what we have seen over many decades of war in Mindanao. We don’t get the truth from hatred and established social and religious prejudices.

Lastly, despite this major setback, we remain supportive of the peace process between the government and the MILF. Working for peace, however tough and tricky it is, remains to be the most effective and viable alternative in addressing the historic and new issues that created the conditions of war in Mindanao.

Partido Manggagawa (Labor Party - Philippines)


Call for Sobriety and Reason: Statement on Mamasapano Incident


In this time of sorrow, the officers and members of the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM) would like to extend our sympathy to the grieving families of the fallen members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) and civilians in the Mamasapano incident last January 25, 2015.

Since our inception in June 2000, we have been committed to the realization of peace in Mindanao by upholding human rights and dignity and the importance of the Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and migrants’ solidarity. It is on this premise that we appeal to everyone for sobriety and reason and choose the path of peace in demanding justice for those who have fallen.

For the last three years, skirmishes and armed conflicts in Central Mindanao have been considerably reduced if not altogether ceased. We owe this to the ceasefire and functioning mechanisms put in place as a result of the GPH-MILF peace talks. Like many sectors, we are inquiring what happened in Mamasapano because we refuse to make assumptions and point an accusing finger without first hearing what really transpired on that fateful day. Thus, we demand for an independent inquiry to look into the events surrounding the incident and demand accountability from the author/s of the said debacle and impose sanctions thereof. While at this, the GPH and MILF should review and ensure that from their highest to the lowest ranks must fully understand, honor and respect the ceasefire mechanisms to avoid similar incident from happening again.

We respect the grieving comrade-in-arms of both the government forces and MILF/BIAF. It is understandable if they will let warmongers persuade them to exact vengeance in the battlefields. However, war will never be a solution to the current situation. Rather, this will cause more lost lives and irreparable damage especially to the civilian population who will stand to be most affected. Thus, we call upon both sides to hold their ranks and don’t let the warmongering calls get the better of them.

At this time, it is the media that have the capacity to dig into sources from both sides and the affected communities. It does not help to sensationalize the news with the intention of stirring emotions of hatred and thirst for revenge from all sides. We call on the media to be the bastion of impartiality, and let the voice of reason and calm resonate in this trying times.

The peace process has come a long way. It is not only the GPH and the MILF that have invested time, effort and resources to bring it to where it is now. Ordinary people and communities have placed their hopes on this peace process especially now that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is undergoing deliberations in both houses of Congress. While the BBL is not without its flaws, we don’t believe that suspending or aborting the process is the wise thing to do. We should not make the BBL the sacrificial lamb as a consequence to the violence in Mamasapano. We enjoin the legislators to stay the course by continuing the deliberations on the BBL until its final conclusion and make it genuinely inclusive and relevant to the peoples of Mindanao.

Let the Mamasapano incident be the gripping force for the legislators to perfect the BBL to provide an environment where a culture of war and impunity is dismantled for the children of the future to live free from violence and oppression.

We appeal to some politicians, public figures and the warmongers to refrain from issuing provocative statements instigating war. It is very easy to call for an “All Out War” from the comfort of your offices and homes when it is not your love ones, family and community who will be affected and will suffer the brunt of another cycle of senseless violence, death and destruction.

Let the way to peace be peace itself – not war. The Mamasapano incident is a sad reminder and lesson for all of us especially the primary peace actors in peacemaking that there should be no more collateral damage in any peace processes – the likes of women, children, Indigenous Peoples, farmers among other stakeholders’ rights and welfare.

On our part, we commit to continue our adherence to public peace processes to help prevent the recurrence of armed conflict by facilitating the voiceless from the margins to be heard to attain human security and inclusive peace.

Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM)

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