Muslims, Christians and Indigenous Peoples respond to Marawi crisis

More than 750 volunteers from Metro Manila and different regions in Mindanao will converge in different conflict areas in Mindanao today to respond to calls for humanitarian intervention to communities affected by the fight between the government and the ISIS-inspired Maute Group as well as communities affected by the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.

Led by Kalinaw Mindanao, an alliance of faith-based, service organizations, human rights and people’s organizations, the volunteers responded to the call for an interfaith intervention through a National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM) geared towards bringing relief and medical services to victims and evacuees, as well as document human rights violations brought about by the declaration of Martial Law. The mission will cover five mission areas: Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, Iligan City in Lanao del Norte, Matanao in Davao del Sur, President Roxas in North Cotabato and Mamasapano in Maguindanao.

In Iligan City, the mission converged at the Minitheater of the Mindanao State Unversity - Iligan Institute of Technology for an opening program with more than 400 participants for the NIHM in Lanao.

“Kalinaw, meaning peace, is what we seek in Mindanao. So much suffering and violence has been done to the Mindanawons, especially our Moro brothers and sisters. This has to stop now,” said Aida Ibrahim, spokesperson of Kalinaw Mindanao-Northern Mindanao Region.

“We will visit victims of forced evacuations, both home based and in evacuation centers to know their situation and their needs. We will also provide relief packs, conduct psychosocial intervention to women and children. We will also listen to the stories of Marawi residents on the extent of damage done by military airstrikes and the martial law in Mindanao,” Ibrahim said.

“Gathering from our initial research, there are more than 200,000 evacuees from Marawi. A total of 3,584 families or 21,000 individuals, mostly children, elderly and women have fled to Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur,” Ibrahim said. Evacuees in the gymnasium of Balo-I, Lanao del Norte have already put up signs inside the evacuation centers, “Please stop martial law and stop bombing in Marawi City. Marami ng sirang mga buhay at pag-aari at mga civilian na nabobombahan dahil sa di pumipili ang bomba ng tinatamaan sa Marawi…. Mahal na pangulo, ipatigil mo na ang martial law. Maawa kayo sa aming mga mamamayan. Parang awa mo na pabalikin mo na ang mga sundalo para makabalik na kami sa mga tahanan namin… kawawa kaming mga civilians!!!”

“Their message is clear - it is the civilian communities who are defeated during martial law not the terrorists. It is the lives of the children and the evacuees that are ruined. We call on the peace loving Filipinos to join us in responding to the immediate needs of victims. We encourage the public to show support in calling for peace in Mindanao for the Moro people, Christians and Lumad,” Ibrahim said.

“The Moro people are not terrorists. While we condemn the terror acts of the Maute group, the exaggerated counter-terror response by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their partner US soldiers that has aggravated the situation of the Marawi residents and heir communities,” said Jerome Succor Aba of Suara Bangsamoro, a convenor of Kalinaw Mindanao NIHM 2017.

Aba condemns the role of the US government in instigating and using extremist groups and condoning their terrorist attacks in covert and overt operations to support of their regime change policy in countries against the United States government and to serve the purpose for justifying the US global “war on terror.”

“They have done that in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and now in Mindanao. They turned our communities into war zone showcasing their latest military arsenal and conducting military operations that are illegal, unconstitutional and destructive. They undermined the legitimate struggle of the people for right to self-determination by tagging all struggles as acts of terrorism,” said Aba.

“The US blatantly trashed our sovereignty by meddling in the affairs of our homeland to protect their economic and political interest,” Aba said. “It is the US, through its war on terror that exacerbated the Muslim scare and further divided the Christians from the Moro,” Aba explained.

Kalinaw Mindanao serves as a response of different groups to the call for a Muslim-Christian-Indigenoues People's unity in addressing the roots cause of the conflict in Mindanao and for the promotion of just and lasting peace.###

 

14 June 2017
PRESS RELEASE

For reference:

Amirah Ali Lidasan

Covener, Kalinaw Mindanao

Convener, National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission

E-mail: amirah.lidasan@gmail.com

Mobile number 0921-927-6583

 

Jerome Succor Aba

Chairpeson, Suara Bangsamoro

Convener, National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission

Mobile number 0916-844-8508