STATEMENT of SUARA BANGSAMORO: Bombings amid martial law only prove it is ineffective in securing peace

January 28, 2019

Suara Bangsamoro strongly condemns the twin bombings at Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu yesterdat that left at least 27 dead and more than 80 injured. We pray and sympathize with the victims and their families. We call on the immediate apprehension of the perpetrators.

The series of bombings in Mindanao amidst Martial Law only proves its ineffectivity in securing peace in the region. In the 18 months of Martial Law with 75% of AFP troops positioned, thousands of checkpoints setup in Mindanao and billions of funds funnelled to intelligence operations, President Duterte and his military and police forces failed to prevent bombings and quell violence in Mindanao. And with abuses and bloodshed caused by his martial rule, the public must demand Duterte’s accountability for his inutility in solving conflicts in Mindanao and call  for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao.

The blasts happened days after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), illustrating that unrest in Moro areas is far from over. We fear that this incident will be used as a justification by the government to pursue intensive militarization of Jolo and other Moro communities which will then lead to human rights violation of the Bangsamoro. Just like what we have seen in the past, the pursuit of “terrorists” has been a convenient excuse to obscure AFP atrocities against the Moro people such as killing, arresting and accusing innocent civilians as members or sympathizers of Abu Sayyaf, Maute or other groups that pledge allegiance to ISIS.

We hope that this incident will not be used to divide the Moro and Christian people or the people of Jolo in general. In this difficult time, we need to stand together against inhumane attacks and violence. We demand justice for the victims of the bombing in Jolo!