Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace in the Phils. Inc.
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE IN MINDANAO;
RESOLVE THE WAR IN SULU NOW!
The Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace in the Phil’s. Inc. (BCJP) is appealing to the Philippine government for an immediate ceasefire with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and come up with immediate steps to prevent the escalation of the armed conflict in Sulu and respond to the humanitarian needs of some 50,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) from eight towns of the island province.
BCJP also appreciate the initiative from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and from the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) for their united stand in this issue: calling the government and MNLF to cease fighting and talk to resolve their differences in the negotiating table.
The present hostilities going into the second week, wherein military blamed the Moro National Liberation Front under Habier Malik for attacking the Marines camp in Panamao last April 13. But reports from other sources said Malik was provoked when the Marines attacked his camp last April 11 allegedly in pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf.
Another sources traced the present clash to a series of massacres of Moro families in Indanan and Patikul towns as told by MNLF State Chairman Khaid Ajibon and Ustadz Zain Jali, chairman of the Bangsamoro People’s Congress. Malik is an area commander under Khaid Ajibon.
In this battle for airing out of issues, the Bangsamoro are at the disadvantage since the military has the Manila media awaiting its press releases. As for the Bangsamoro who has limited access to media usually get the popular blame, thus their cynicism against the national government and the military – and even against the Christians – deepens and hardens.
On the other hand, not only Christians, but BCJP and some Muslim religious leaders condemn Abu Sayyaf barbarism in the recent beheading of seven hostages in Parang, Sulu. They were as outraged as President Arroyo, who vowed for the time to obliterate the Abu Sayyaf. That outrage, to most Filipinos, justifies the pursuit of Malik and his forces – the rogue MNLF – to the end. But people should be made to understand that what is in the papers is not the whole truth. Its one sided in favor of the government.
The hostilities have already disrupted the election campaign. The evacuation -- now estimated to be as large as 50,000 -- can disenfranchise many voters. All these are happening in MNLF- influenced communities and will adversely affect Misuari’s chances of winning in the coming election