CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A Moro group has sounded alarm on the planned establishment of a military installation in Marawi City.
This after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte announced that Martial Law in Mindanao will no longer be extended beyond the Dec. 31, 2019 deadline.
“After reducing Marawi into ashes, Duterte commits yet another historical injustice against the Moro people by establishing a military garrison around a civilian population it has sweepingly treated and unjustly punished as ‘terrorists,’” said the Moro human rights group Suara Bangsamoro, in a statement released Tuesday (Dec. 17).
It said the proposed military camp in Marawi “is a far cry from promoting healing and recovery of the Maranaos who suffered the tragic loss of their land, homes, and culture.”
“The [Duterte] regime has been deliberately slow in rebuilding the city for the safe return of thousands of displaced families to the land of their ancestors after its excessive military operation and bombings flattened once thriving city to rubbles,” Amirah Lidasan, Suara Bangsamoro spokesperson, said.
She said an army camp will only “further breed distrust from the Bangsamoro towards a tyrannical government that killed thousands of civilians, bastardized our culture and religion and banished our brothers and sisters from their homeland.”
Lidasan said they stand with the people of Marawi and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) against the proposed military base.
“We commend the officials of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority of the BARMM, the Lanao del Sur provincial government, and the Marawi city government for passing a resolution opposing the construction of the camp,” she said.
She added the unpopularity of the proposal is attested to by more than 100,000 individuals who signed a petition opposing its construction in Marawi.
“The people of Marawi have spoken – they do not want a military camp in their hallowed land,” Lidasan said.
This strong public outrage over the proposed military camp, she said, is a continuation of the people’s condemnation of Martial Law that has brought further suffering and insecurity to the Bangsamoro.
“The three years of Martial Law in Mindanao have resulted to several unsolved cases of killings, illegal arrests, indiscriminate airstrikes, forced disappearances and various human rights violations perpetrated by the Manila government,” Lidasan said.
With the rush to build the military establishment, she said, “Duterte chose military occupation of our communities over securing evacuees back to their homes.”
“Instead of recognizing our rights to our territories, he encourages the sellout of our lands to big mines and plantations,” Lidasan added.
She further said that Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana’s recommendation not to extend martial rule in Mindanao does not hold any bearing as its reign in the region has paved way to the entrenchment of military structures in civilian communities.
In a recent press conference here, Eduardo del Rosario, chairman of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, said the proposed camp will only be a supplement of the existing Army base.(davaotoday.com)