MinCode Statement on the Cotabato Incident

The Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), made up of 12 networks of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in Mindanao, strongly condemn the barbaric bombing in Cotabato City yon August 4, 2013. We deplore this dastardly act that caused the senseless loss of lives and property and the chaos and terror that the barbaric attack has fomented in the city and its environs. We denounce even more that the bombing attack happened during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

We specially express our deep concern for one of our member networks, the Cotabato-based Consortium of Civil Society Organizations (CBCS) and its base organizations. We hope that this attack will not escalate into bigger conflicts that will adversely affect the work they do in many communities in the ARMM territory and other areas. This morning, the news of another bomb attack in Midsayap, North Cotabato gives us reason to really be concerned about what is happening. We also recall the bombing that happened in Cagayan de Oro City last month that also caused deaths and injuries to many innocent victims.

These spate of bombings have disturbed the peace in Mindanao and the economic and social costs have continued to rise. We extend our sympathies to the families of all those who were killed and injured in these violent incidents. We join the call of many peace-loving citizens of Mindanao for an impartial investigation of these attacks on innocent individuals as we call for an immediate apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators of these attacks. Our member networks through our base NGO/PO/cooperatives members are calling on our partners in communities all over Mindanao to remain calm and help to explain the imperative and the importance of seeking a peaceful resolution to these latest attacks as we denounce in very strong terms the irresponsible calls for heightened military responses that will put the Mindanao in a state of siege, sowing fear and anger among our people.

We commit to walking only in the Paths of Peace, wherever we work in urban and rural poor communities in Mindanao. Our passion for peace is in the heart of our work for sustainable development so that we continue to work for the end of conflicts that divide us, to put an end to the senseless loss of lives and property because of war and conflict.

This underlines our full support for the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

We know all too well that our civilian partners in the communities suffer the most in any situation of conflict. Development efforts are rendered useless when these grind to a halt when there are violent incidences such as the bomb attacks in Cagayan de Oro and in Cotabato.

We hold hands with the rest of the people of Mindanao and say: No to Violence! Yes to a lasting and just Peace in our land!

Patricia M. Sarenas Chairperson