KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/26 October) — A consortium of Moro human rights groups in Mindanao has called for an impartial investigation on the facts and circumstances surrounding last week’s bloody incidents in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay as they appealed for sobriety and restraint.
In a statement issued to media today, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) urged authorities, including the committees on the cessation of hostilities from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), to investigate the incidents in Albarca, Basilan and Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay.
“These incidents resulted to several deaths of men in uniform. We want to determine what caused the killing and punish those responsible for it,” said the CBCS, a network of Moro-led non-government organizations.
The consortium has just completed a three-day congress in Davao City, which was participated in by at least 90 leaders from different sectors and organizations in Palawan, Sulu, and in other parts of Mindanao.
CBCS chairman Guiamel Alim said they are deeply saddened by these ‘unfortunate’ incidents, which happened at a time the government and the MILF are negotiating peace.
“We sincerely condole and share the bereavement of the families of those who died in these incidents as we sympathize with the displaced residents of the affected areas. These incidents could have been avoided if only the parties consciously adhered to the agreed peace mechanisms established by the peace process,” said Alim.
Amidst the mounting sentiment to wage war in Mindanao, the consortium implored the media for responsible and prudent reporting of events and to avoid sensationalism. This kind of reporting, according to Alim, could only inflame deep-seated biases and historical prejudices against Muslims.
The group said they are in full support of the move of President Aquino not to wage an “all-out war” as proposed by some sectors.
The group has also urged both panels to immediately return to the negotiating table “so they could hammer out the gaps in the peace talks” because according to Alim, “In war, there are no victors, only victims.” (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)