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Suara calls on PGMA to stop the Pinols from reviving vigilante groups on BJE issue

Aug. 11, 2008

Suara Bangsamoro calls on the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop North Cotabato representative Ben Pinol and Vice-Governor Emmanuel Pinol from stirring people in their province by calling on them to arm against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Suara Bangsamoro national president Amirah Ali Lidasan said that the statement made Moro civilians more vulnerable to attacks and harassment. She disclosed that their organization has been getting reports from their North Cotabato chapters that Pinol’s statement has bolstered military-trained members of the civilian volunteer organizations (CVO) and Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) to attack Moro civilian communities.

“The house of one of our members in Midsayap was lobbed with an old grenade that fortunately did not explode,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that vice-governor Pinol should be chastised for stirring the Christian settlers and Lumads (indigenous) to arm against the MILF.

“He is barking at the MILF for mapping out the villages that would constitute the Bangsamoro ancestral domain to veer away Christians and Lumads’ attention at how he is stripping them of their land

Lidasan said that because of Pinol’s Palma complex and Arakan Valley complex projects, many farmers were flushed out of their communities to accommodate palm, rubber and fruit plantations set up by foreign businessmen. Talks of mining exploration have also affected the communities in North Cotabato.

According to Lidasan, the Pinol’s are known landgrabbers from the time of Martial Law and intentionally fan anti-Moro hysteria by supporting Christian vigilantes that victimize not only Muslims but Christians as well.

“As a government official, Pinol should be made responsible for the harassment and violations committed by his remarks about reviving vigilante groups in his province,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan also lambasted the deployment of several soldiers and police in Moro areas under the pretext of ensuring security for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) polls against possible MILF attacks.

“Government officials are fermenting unnecessary fears in the public by beefing up security for the ARMM and accusing the MILF of intervening in the ARMM elections,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that her group joins the call for the government to go back to the negotiating table and even calls for the resumption of the talks between the GRP and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

“If the Arroyo administration is really for peace in Mindanao, then it should resume its talk with all revolutionary forces in Mindanao,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan said land is the core issue in the government’s resumption of talks with the NDF, especially on the agenda of social and economic reforms.

“This would help dispel misconceptions about Muslims and Christians fighting over land in Mindanao, said Lidasan.#

For reference:

Amirah Ali Lidasan

Mobile # 09196603839

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