Moro group backs Duterte on ejecting US forces from Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Sep) – A Moro group lauded the recent statement of President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the remaining United States military forces leave Mindanao and urged the present administration to drop all agreements entered into between this country and the US.

In a forum dubbed “A Journey to Peace: From Davao to Oslo and Back” at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) Tuesday, Kawagib Moro Human Rights secretary-general Bay Ali Indayla said that the Moro people admired Duterte’s position against the stay of the US military forces in Mindanao in recognition of the historical injustices committed against them.

“Sa statement nya na kailangan maging sovereign ang ating bansa hanggang sa pagtaboy at pagpapaalis ng mga Amerikano dito sa atin, malaking pagbabago yun para sa amin dahil hanggang hindi tayo lumalaya dun sa dominasyon ng isang imperialist na bansa, hindi makakamit ang kapayapaan. Kaya para sa amin, ito ay isang malaking hakbangin at isang positibong hakbangin,” she said. (“On the statement that our country needs to be sovereign and the need to drive out the Americans from this country, it is for us a big change because until we are free from the domination of an imperialist power, we cannot achieve peace. That’s why for us, this is such a big and positive step.”)

Indayla lauded Duterte who, during last week’s ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos, scrapped his prepared speech and brought up the Bud Dajo massacre in Sulu in the early 1900s before leaders of the international community, including US President Barrack Obama.

“We really appreciate and happy with what he did because he showed to the US and the rest of the international community that there was indeed historical injustices committed against the Moro people,” she said.

She surmised it was Duterte’s way of telling the US government that it committed historical injustices against the Moro people in Mindanao and has not done anything to indemnify these historical wrongs.

She said that the Moro people are hopeful Duterte would live up to his words that the Philippine government would pursue an independent policy on the grounds that it has “long ceased to be a colony of the US.”

Indayla said Duterte must also drop the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to allow the Philippines to function as an independent nation.

In a statement released Monday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Duterte’s pronouncements reflect his administration’s new direction towards coursing through an independent foreign policy and with regards to the “unrecognized, unrepented and unatoned for massacre at Bud Dajo in Sulu by the Americans.”

He said that the palace maintained that the country’s connection with Western powers “is the real reason for the ‘Islamic’ threat in Mindanao.”

“The American silence on the matter lacks congruence with its ‘moral’ position, in the light of actions taken in the past by the Germans who confessed and made atonement for the Holocaust, and Japan which made reparations for the atrocities it perpetrated among the peoples they conquered,” Abella said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)