Bangsamoro supporters, leftist group clash in Mendiola

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


A SUPPOSED peaceful gathering of the Bangsamoro peace pact supporters on Thursday turned into a chaos when supporters of the arrested top communist leaders stormed the streets of Mendiola in Manila.

Manila Police District (MPD) spokesman Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo said a group of Muslims were having a peaceful program in connection with signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) when some 50 to 80 members of the militant group Kabataang Makabayan marched on Mendiola Bridge as part of the 45th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples' Army (CPP-NPA) on March 29.

Margarejo said the actions of the militant youth group who are protesting the recent arrest of the Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the chairman and secretary general of the CPP-NPA, respectively, angered the Muslims.

"Napakapayapa naman ng pagtitipon ng mga kapatid nating Muslim ng biglang manggulo 'tong mga militante at nag rally din sa Mendiola," Margarejo said.

The MPD spokesman said the Muslims felt they were embarrassed as the militants stole the spotlight on their special day, the historic signing of the CAB between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Malacanan Palace.

A confrontation ensued after the Moros, who were reading their Koran, destroyed the paraphernalia and placards being used by the CPP-NPA sympathizers. Some of the militants were even chased and threatened by the Bangsamoro if they don't leave the Mendiola premises, Margarejo said.

Lemuelle Benar, 23, sustained injuries in the ribs, eyes and nape during the commotion, said Police Officer 3 Gilbert Isole said in a telephone interview.

"Hindi ako kasama sa mga nag-rarally, I was just there to take pictures tapos biglang nagkainitan tapos 'yun nagkatakbuhan, naipit ako," Benar told Sun.Star.

The militant youths left the area as anti-riot police arrived on the scene to diffuse the commotion.

In a statement, the Kabataang Makabayan said they meant no disrespect to the Bangsamoro brothers and sisters and the untoward incident that transpired, was a "case of misunderstanding" between both parties.

"We respect and support their aspiration for genuine just and lasting peace in Mindanao," they said.

However, leftist group said the misunderstanding could have been resolved peacefully if only the Bangsamoro protest organizers was able to calm down and hold their members who provoked their ranks to defend and protect themselves.

On Thursday, the CAB will be signed in the Malacanang Palace with several leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and top government officials gracing the event.

The signing is expected to be witnessed by the Malaysian Prime Minister- Najib Razak, almost 1000 MILF members and some foreign diplomats. (Sunnex)

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