(Statement of Speaker Pangalian Balindong of the interim Parlieamnt of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on the recent spate of atrocities against Moro people)
This is INFURIATING. This is the first word I could only think of with this renewed spate of violence against us. This is infuriating as it is EXASPERATING. How I hope I am wrong in thinking that this is deliberate, that whoever these Godless people are, they seem to be intent on exhausting our patience, and believe me, exhausting our patience means exhausting our resolve. And we don’t want that.
Yes we have been through this for hundreds of years now. We have been resilient! We have shown our worth and that the whole country has seen and recognized not only our worth but more so the fundamental meaning of Moro Filipinos, after all, there’s no one who can claim more to be real, original Filipinos than us. But we never argued that, we just showed our worth, the kind of people that we are. I am sure they have not been deaf and insensitive to have realized by now that we never fought only for our lives and land, we have fought for our principles, for our faith, for all that is simply intrinsically right. We could have come to the conclusion, again after hundreds of years of fighting, that we are a separate people, but no, we have been agitated yes, but we have not been made fools by those who simply wants to divide.
Just when we are about to finish rebuilding the region, putting together the appropriate institutions for our people, for the benefit, not only of the Bangsamoro but of the whole country, not only for the Muslims but also for Christians and Lumads, here we go again with this vexing sad refrain. I am sad but a lot more than that, I am ENRAGED! We have to fight! Not just fight as we did before, but fight to finally put an end to all these atrocities.
We cannot sit idly by. What with our brothers and sisters being slaughtered! For what?! For a while I thought simply because they are ignorant that they are racist, that they hate us Muslims. But no! while that may be a plausible reason before, that is way back during the colonial period, as I have said at the outset, we have already shown who we really are! They know and have recognized that they respect us, that there is every reason to imbibe that we are but one people.
So the reason for all these senseless, seems to me orchestrated series of atrocities, is simply more for some people’s selfish ends, that they simply would not want peace and development for Mindanao, that they simply would not want lasting peace to be actually achieved, that ultimately, they don’t want us to achieve what no one has achieved before, a real, principled and most importantly developmental integration of the Bangsamoro and the whole Filipino people. That is a nightmare for some as they would no longer be able to do as they please.
I call on the Bangsamoro Government to give utmost attention and act expeditiously to get to the bottom of this. We have to persistently call on the President to closely assist us in this regard. Given the circumstances, we don’t know who exactly are behind all these that we cannot trust anyone. The bottom line is that we have to act on our own. We can and in fact should work with the President, but here in the Bangsamoro, we have to be able to act and lead the investigation. We should not stop until we get the justice we deserve, that those who died for no reason deserve.
Nine civilians died, and many were hurt and wounded recently in Kabacan, Cotabato. These civilians, many still young, were in different vehicles, and they were just gunned down and near the University of Southern Mindanao at that! Get the facts and put them together! Why would this be the choice of these Godless culprits? Let’s ask as many questions as possible! We have to assume that they will not be satisfied until we all get back and bear arms again as ultimately, they don’t want peace to rein. They would likely strike again if we don’t act. Just after the killing of nine civilians, they struck again, killing two boys, cousins who went with their parents to buy Kanduli in a barangay in Kabacan. Again, in the vicinity of the USM and near the Liguasan Marsh.
So we thought this orchestration is only limited here in the Bangsamoro. Just recently, a Muslim couple was reportedly killed in Pasay City in Metro Manila by men in “Police Uniform”. Valuables were lost, a vault containing 15 million pesos in cash and jewelries. Is it just a case of thievery? I don’t think so. To me the most interesting details that should be investigated is the fact that the victims were Muslims, and that the perpetrators were in “Police Uniform”. If you are actually a lawman, will you be wearing your uniform in doing a crime? Is that not just plain stupid or perhaps it is part of the plan? Are the businessmen that could be possible target of robbery only Muslims? Or that the most vulnerable are Muslims?
On Saturday morning, a raid was conducted by the police in Polomolok against a former member of the Bangsamoro Communication Network (BCN) and now a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT). Again, we have to ask why? Has this been coordinated with the Bangsamoro Government? Have the police at the very least explained why this raid had to be done?
Article XI of the RA 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law is clear. The police are under the Philippine National Police as “the defense and security of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall be (under) the National Government” (Section 1). For this defense and security to be actually realized on the other hand, it goes without saying that there should be at the very least coordination. This is why the appointment of the Police Regional Director is to be done in “consultation with the Chief Minister” (par. 2 Section 2, Art. XI). Apart from that the “Consultation with the Chief Minister on Police Matters Affecting the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” (Section 4, Art. XI) is expressly provided. The provision is also worded in a way that it can encompass anything and everything about the police in the region. So, the question now is if any and all of these supposed police operations were consulted whether before or after the incident.
Let me tell you my friends and brethren, we have to act and all the more is unity crucial in this regard. Our enemies already see how potent our achievement is that their selfish interest have led them to resort to all kinds of trickery. I hope we will not let them succeed. Ask yourself if the direction we have taken has been bearing fruit. It may not be perfect, it may not be as we really wanted it to be, but we are getting there. But we will not get there if we continue to forget that we are one people and that it is for the best for us to act as one people. Then and only then can we truly have peace and enjoy what we deserve from the very start