Rebels, military urged to control aggression-A A +A
Friday, August 10, 2012
A COALITION of peace advocates and a youth group expressed concern over the armed clashes in Mindanao, urging those involved in the conflict to moderate their aggression and pursue negotiations.
The Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW) particularly appealed to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) to convey their pleas through non-violent means to protect civilians and communities in the south.
"The Mindanao PeaceWeavers now call upon those elements who initiated this violence to temper their aggressive actions by instead seeking avenues of dialogue for redress of their legitimate grievances," the group said in a statement.
MPW told government forces to also observe self-constraint amid the armed tensions to prevent harm on the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"We urge government forces to keep in mind the primacy of the peace process and not be swayed by interests other than the goals of the peace negotiations," the group said.
"We therefore, encourage the AFP to practice utmost tolerance and restraint in safeguarding a region still reeling from decades of instability and conflict," it added.
The group MY (Moro Youth) Stand for Peace in Mindanao expressed the same sentiments, adding it is unfortunate for these skirmishes to happen during the time of Ramadhan, a Holy Month for Muslims.
"Amidst these untoward incidents, we call on sobriety. There is neither war nor martial law declared in Mindanao," the group said in a statement.
"Strongly in unison of achieving peace in our time, we persist in our support to the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and MILF," the group added.
The groups also called for immediate attention for the needs of the affected civilians.
"It's always the civilians who are most ravaged by war. And ironically, it is on their behalf that the war is waged– be it from the government's or rebels’ perspectives," the MWP said.
Before midnight of August 5, members of the BIFM staged simultaneous attacks in four Maguindanao towns and eight military bases or detachments. The attacks were followed by armed tensions that have displaced 25,650 civilians.
The BIFM, formed by commander Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato, broke off last year from the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and is considered a lawless group. It has opposed the ongoing peace negotiations between the GPH and the MILF and vowed to continue fighting for an independent homeland for minority Muslims in the south.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman dismissed rumors that the tensions have escalated into a war.
The resumption of the peace talks between the GPH and MILF are currently ongoing in Malaysia. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)