Mamasapano children stage ‘peace walk’ in bid to help end war

MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao (29 Jan) – Hundreds of elementary and high school students here have appealed to authorities, and even to lawless elements, to help bring about peace in their communities.

To dramatize their concerns, the students staged what they called a “peace walk” starting at Barangay Tukanalipao passing through a deserted road all the way to the town center.

Tukanalipao was the site of last Sunday’s bloody clash that involved the elite Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), wherein 44 elite policemen were killed.

The children carried placards calling for a stop to all the violence in their communities because it hampers their education.

They said they do not want to experience the pain their parents and elders had experienced in previous wars in Mindanao.

“Gusto ko matigil na ang gulo. Ayaw namin maistorbo ang aming pag-aaral (I want the war to stop. We don’t want our studies to be disturbed),” said Asrina Kasim, a Grade 6 pupil at the Mamasapano Elementary School (MES).

Amiludin Kadatuan, MES principal, said parents, pupils and everyone in Mamasapano wanted peace.

“Kasi ang mga bata gusto nila wala nang gulo na mangyari dito sa Mindanao, partikular dito sa Maguindanao, dahil punong-puno na ito ng kaguluhan (Children here don’t want any more wars to happen in Mindanao, especially here in Maguindanao because there have been so much trouble in this area),” she said.

She said the children staged the “peace walk” to help put an end to the war.