DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – Children in conflict areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) can have dreams beyond the war, according to a spokesperson from a group asking for justice and truth about the Mamasapano incident.
This was why the discussions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be continued, according to Jobayra Tandalong, of the Bangsamoro Women’s Organization of Davao Oriental.
Tandalong was with other members of various civil society groups that marched the city’s downtown streets Tuesday to call for truth about the January 25 clash and justice for the fallen troops from both sides.
“The law has already been delayed,” Tandalong said. “But we all want peace.”
Around 1,500 people attended a march and rally that began at Freedom Park at Roxas Ave. and culminated at the Rizal Park, about a kilometer away.
The groups came from different sectors, such as the youth, professionals, women, as well as religious groups including indigenous peoples, Muslims, Christians and converts to Islam.
Tandalong said that the children were among the most affected by the all out war launched against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the term of former president Joseph Estrada.
She said the groups are calling for the immediate passage of the BBL.
“War was never a solution to the problems in Mindanao. The solution is peace,” she said.
Tandalong added that individuals calling for an all out war and the cessation of talks with the MILF are only in it for their personal interest.
She said the grassroots campaign has yielded very positive results. “They are all 100 percent in favor of a Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
“We believe that all the aspirations of the Bangsamoro would be realized if the bill gets passed. We want to be given the chance to show everyone that the Bangsamoro are a peace-loving people,” Tandalong said.
The children used to be afraid of soldiers, she said. “They were even scared of gunshots coming from movies that were playing on the television. In the past, the children would not go to school. But now, some of them want to become doctors and want to be somebody.”
“War is not the only thing they see,” she said.