MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 22 November) — Majority of the Meranaws opposed the building of a new military camp inside the main affected area or ground zero of Marawi city where the five-month battle between government forces and ISIS inspired groups took place.
Resolutions from various fora organized by Meranaw CSOs and POs and more than 100,000 signatures spearheaded by Saksi Islamic Radio Forum opposed the dstablishment of a second military camp in Marawi.
President Duterte should not repeat his mistake during Marawi siege for his failure in not consulting the Meranaws so that he will get fair and truthful accounts of what is really happening on the ground (wag lang sa mga warmonger amd sipsip na Meranaws or Moros).
Memo 41 by the president is a proof that this camp will be forced or imposed upon us, violating our right for Free, Prior and Informed Consent, they have no plan to consult us, even our own LGUs (local government units) are not part of the Task Force created.
Additional military camp is the last thing we need after the devastation of our city along with the destruction of our properties not to mention civilians killed in the five- month battle.
Establishment of a new camp will endanger nearby communities as this is prone to attacks by militant or radical groups, like what they did during Marawi Siege.
In the case of Suicide bombers, looking in the cases in Basilan and Sulu they are targetting Military Camp and detachments.
We urge BTA-BARMM (Bangsamoro Transition Authority-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) implementing panels and their Joint Normalization Committee, to review the Normalization Annex of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro signed in 2014 on deployment of troops. We believe that the establishment of a new camp is a blatant violation of the letter and spirit of the Agreement.
We also appeal to the Philippine government to respect our rights recognized under International Humanitarian law ( Article 58 of additional protocol on Geneva Convention of 1949) to avoid locating military objectives near densely populated areas.
Lastly, we fear that the establishment of a new camp will put the civilian residents of Marawi city in grave danger, taking our lesson from the May 23, 2017 siege that initially broke out within few blocks away between the Military Brigade Camp and Philippine National Police Provincial Headquarters.
LET’S STOP THIS CYCLE OF VIOLENCE!
NO TO REPEAT OF MARAWI SIEGE!
ALLOW US TO REBUILD OUR OWN MARAWI!
END MARTIAL LAW!
(Drieza Abato Lininding is chair of the Moro Consensus Group).