MPC Statement: STOP THE BOMBINGS, CEASEFIRE NOW!
July 7, 2009
The Mindanao Peoples Caucus strongly condemns the recent bombing in Cotabato City last Sunday which again claimed the lives of innocent people, young and old. We grieved with the family of the victims who are still shocked over the death of their loved ones. We sympathize with those who had been injured and pray for their immediate recovery. We are outraged by the spate of violence happening in Cotabato and Maguindanao which only shows our collective failure to resolve this lingering armed conflict.
In a similar fashion, we also condemn the bombings in Datu Piang and its neighboring towns in Maguindanao which displaced thousands upon thousands of civilians and burned hundreds of homes.
Just this morning, another bomb exploded in the town of Jolo which killed 6 people and wounded 40 others. This was succeeded by another bomb explosion a few hours after, this time, in Iligan City, which wounded 7 people including 2 soldiers.
Given this situation, MPC posed these questions, “Who is doing this and what are their motives? Is there a grand design that is spinning a desired political scenario? Are we already witnessing before our eyes and at the expanse of our people a build up scenario for 2010?”
This is enough. The bloodshed must stop. We cannot continue to be drawn into this quagmire of war and violence. We cannot continue to watch our children die one by one. We cannot allow the civilians to pay such a high cost for this war which is not going anywhere. We are concerned with the civilians as much as we also mourn for the loss of lives of combatants, soldiers and rebels alike.
While we call for justice against those responsible for the bombings, we also appeal to the authorities not to use this tragic event to commit further acts of human right violations.
Since 2003, Mindanao has relatively enjoyed the dividends of peace as a result of a functional ceasefire agreement under the auspices of the Joint Ceasefire Committee of both government and the MILF. From a record of around 700 ceasefire violations in 2002, it has dramatically dropped to less than 10 violations in 2007, due to the cooperation of the government, MILF and the International Monitoring Team. The ceasefire agreement has effectively silenced the guns in Mindanao. We saw it working for five years! We experienced that it was possible.
In the aftermath of the MOA-AD controversy, we have witnessed how the gains of the peace process had been thrown into the dust bin. The ceasefire had collapsed, the IMT had packed up and left for good and the ceasefire committee had been demobilized as the hawks took over the war front. Mindanao has again returned to the theatre of war with hundreds of thousands of people currently displaced in Cotabato, Maguindanao and Lanao.
We, as a people, must put an end to this carnage now. It is time to unite, Muslims and Christians alike. We have to take bolder steps to create a safer and more secure environment for our children and family. A step into that direction is to work out for a ceasefire in the conflict affected areas and allow the internally displaced persons to return home.
Let us act now!