Mindanao’s 26 governors: No to all-out war, Yes to all-out justice

  DAVAO CITY(MindaNews/27 October) — Mindanao’s 26 governors have issued a manifesto of support for President Aquino’s “all-out justice” vow,  drowning calls from mostly Manila-based leaders to wage an “all-out war”  following the series of incidents that killed at least 40 soldiers, civilians and Moro guerrillas and displaced some 20,000 residents in some villages in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay.

“We firmly believe an all-out war is not an option because the collateral damage can take a heavy toll not just within the conflict areas but the whole of Mindanao,” the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors’ League Presidents of Mindanao (Confed Mindanao) said.

“We assert that peace is a central ingredient to the country’s future and is a path we all must remain firmly committed to achieving,” the  “Manifesto of Support to the President’s call for All-out Justice and Upholding the Primacy of the Peace Process,” said. The manifesto was  signed on October 26 by Davao del Norte Governor and Confed Mindanao president, Rodolfo del Rosario on behalf of  the governors and mayors “who have individually expressed consensus to this Manifesto.”

Mindanao has 26 provinces, 33 cities, 355 towns and 8,178 barangays, according to records of the National Statistics Coordination Board.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s situation report as of 8 a.m. October 27 said a total of 4,003 families or 19,481 persons were displaced in 39  barangays in five towns in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay.

A total of  2,417 families or 11,593 persons were displaced from 30 barangays in Zamboanga Sibugay – 21 in Alicia, Mabuhay, Payao and Talusan towns, and 1,586 families or 7,888 persons in nine barangays in Al-barka, Basilan.

Twenty-nine soldiers were reported killed: 19 in Basilan, eight in Zamboanga Sibugay and two in Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte.  The NDRRMC reported one civilian died while two others were injured in Basilan;  four persons killed and eight injured in Alicia, Zambaonga Sibugay and one reported missing in Alicia. MILF spokesperson Von al Haq told MindaNews they lost five members in Basilan while two others were injured.

Del Rosario presented the manifesto in a press conference at the Marco Polo hotel Wednesday afternoon.

The Manifesto also called on both government and the MILF to “remain steadfast and pursue a track that allows for a genuinely inclusive and transparent peace process, with greater engagement of the Mindanao stakeholders including the LGUs (local government units).

The governors and mayors said they “stand by the decision of President Aquino to take the moral high ground of going for all-out justice and peace, instead of all-out-war in addressing the conflict in parts of Mindanao.”

“We honor our fallen soldiers who valiantly fought with their lives defending this nation. We strongly urge on relentlessly pursuing and subjecting those responsible for condemnable acts to the rule of law as this is one crucial way for the peace process to move forward. Hence, we support the calibrated and targeted military actions against the lawless elements,” the manifesto said, adding an all-out war is “not an option.”
The manifesto was supported by all 26 Mindanao governors in Mindanao’s six regions: Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos, Zamboanga del Norte Governor Rolando E. Yebes and Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio H. Cerilles of Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula); Bukidnon Governor Allen Calingasan, Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo, Lanao del Norte Governor Mohammad Khalid Q. Dimaporo,  Misamis Occidental Governor Herminia Ramiro and Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno of Region 10 (Northern Mindanao);  Compostela Valley Governor Arturo T. Uy, Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Ra. Cagas, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo P. Del Rosario and . Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon of Region 11 (Davao); Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene A. Dominguez, South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy, Jr.. Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza and  Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto T. Mangudadatu of Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao, popularly referred to as Soccsksargen); Agusan del Norte Governor Erlpe John M. Amante, Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas, Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel and Dinagat Islands Governor Glenda Ecleo of Caraga; and Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto-Aditong, Jr..,  Basilan Governor Jum J. Akbar, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan and Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul A. Sahali of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

As of  Thursday afternoon, 16 of 33 city mayors have expressed support and eight presidents of the Municipal Mayors’ Leagues. More are expected to express their support, del Rosario said.

(Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)