7 February 2013
The Kabataan Youth Partylist expresses concern over the reported bloodbath allegedly between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao’s Sulu island.
Reports noted already 26 killed from both groups. The death toll will rise, Kabataan said, if the war continues and escalates. Affected civilians have been forced to evacuate for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.
“I am saddened over the continuous war between our fellow Muslim brothers,” said Bai Ali Indayla, second nominee and Mindanao Spokesperson of Kabataan Partylist. She is also concurrent secretary general of the Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance.
Indayla said that the continuing armed strife in the country’s Muslim region poses a challenge to the Philippine government to show its sincerity in the implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“We should understand that the extent of this war is the manifestation of the long-running problem which the government failed to address,” Indayla said.
Indayla said that the lack of government’s sincerity to recognize the Bangsamoro people’s right to self-determination and the worsening poverty are the fundamental roots of the conflict in Sulu and in Mindanao.
“Instead of resolving these problems, the government has time and again responded by militarizing the area and by declaring all-out-war campaigns under various presidencies,” she said.
She recalled that Sulu was swept by the US-led ‘war on terror’ campaign in 2001 and was declared under a State of Emergency in 2008 when the National ID System and the Reward for Justice System was implemented. These wars were carried out by the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command and by US military forces under the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“Government has boasted of finally silencing the guns in the South, but are the Sulu clashes an indication that no paper agreement, without genuinely addressing the roots of the Moro question— regardless of what revolutionary movement is engaged by government— can bring about real peace?,” Indayla asked.
Indayla said that the MNLF factions are disgruntled with the government’s betrayal of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement and now other factions of the group reject the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement.
“And lastly, there is that nagging issue that the Abu Sayyaf is a government-linked force. American kidnap victim Gracia Burnham’s claims of AFP generals sharing in the ransom money continue to be unimpeached. Are the recent Sulu clashes indicative that another Oplan to further militarize the island is in the offing?” Indayla said.
Bai Ali Indayla
2nd nominee- Kabataan Partylist