There is a grave humanitarian crisis in Mindanao. The mission notes a total of 325,294 IDPs in Mindanao, a big portion of which are in home-based and evacuation-center based in Lanao del Sur, and a smaller portion in Maguindanao and Davao del Sur.
The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth. That is the service to which media is called. That is why we have schools and colleges and universities. That is why teaching is a noble profession. That is why books and magazines, journals and articles are published.
It must be clear by now: Whether you’re in Marawi, Mindanao or Manila, we’re all unsafe from martial law’s effects on our basic rights. And nowhere is this more obvious than the internet and the basic rights we enjoy online and offline.
Approximately 26 million children trooped to major public and some private schools during the opening of classes today nationwide. But the annual event did not hog the headlines as it would normally do. This, as the country was gripped with the attack by a lone gunman at the elite Resorts World Manila last dawn Friday. Foremost in the minds of the many was the question whether the attack was a terrorist assault grave enough to precipitate a martial law declaration nationwide, and graver still, that it would impede the school opening today.
No To Terrorism, Yes To Just Peace is a broad alliance of peace advocates based in the education sector. We are calling on our fellow citizens to take a firm stand against terrorism by struggling for just peace.
The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC) sends its solidarity with communities at the forefront of struggles for the environment in time for this year’s World Environment Day.
The Ateneo de Davao University condemns the violence and terrorism that victimized Marawi City. It was perpetrated by an extremist group that uses murder, hatred and destruction to propagate its ideology of religious intolerance. This violence is not confined to Marawi but increasingly threatens all the peoples of Mindanao-Sulu.
The answer is not controlling information and threatening the media and the public of censorship, but government’s ensuring that complete and accurate information is accessible to the public.
This is what we ask of the negotiators on both sides of the table. Do not be afraid to take the bold steps that alone can bring peace. Intransigence is not strength. Humility is. That one has stood one’s ground is not necessarily the best that can be said of anyone. That he has sown the seeds of peace is to say of a person that he is blessed!
A Martial Law limited in scope, enforced with discipline and restraint, with respect for the Constitution and the inviolability of human rights, can solve specific problems. An unrestrained Martial Law, one that keeps its decisions and movements quiet and secret from its citizens, unconcerned with human dignity, will only compound the problem it seeks to solve.