DAVAO CITY — A Moro human rights group says the “all-out” military operation in the Moro communities in Central Mindanao “is just to clear the way to the Liguasan Marsh for foreign countries to exploit”.

‘We fear that the offensives are really a campaing to drive out the Moro people who defend the Liguasan Marsh,” said Bai Ali Indayla, spokesperson of Moro human rights group Kagawib.

Indayla said that “the United States government and President Benigno III Aquino have their eyes set on the marsh because of its natural gas and oil reserves”..

Indayla said that in other Moro provinces “the investment of the US seems to be trailing along the offensives supposedly directed against armed groups but actually also affect civilian communities.”

“Aside from Maguindanao, there is also an ongoing offensive in Sulu because US-based ExxonMobil is said to be interested,” she said.

Indayla said that after the “all-out-wars against Moro communities in Basilan in recent years, rubber plantations of foreign companies are now again set to expand so the attacks against the communities are set to continue.”

Indayla said that in Tawi-Tawi, another predominantly Moro province, “nickel mining has intensified and has included Chinese companies.”

“With all other provinces where Moro communities are being targeted by these military operations, the Liguasan Marsh is the last battlefield,” she said.

Indayla accused the US government of “masterminding these offensive to outplay Malaysia who may benefit should the peace process prosper because of its third party role.”

Armed Forces Chief, General Gregorio Pio Catabang ordered the all-out offensive Wednesday last week against Moro rebel faction Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) based in Maguindanao.

In an interview, Catapang said they launched an offensive against the BIFF because they “attacked communities, (is a) threat to national security and the peace situation in Mindanao.”

Various reports say 50,000 individuals have evacuated, prompting the province of Maguindanao to declare a state of calamity, granting the local government access to calamity funds.

The AFP is supposed to end the offensive Wednesday but has extended it til Sunday.

Indayla “all-out-offensive is reminiscent of all-out war declarations of previous administrations against the Moro people.”

“The Moro people and a majority of Filipinos are already fed-up with the term all-out war, the all-out offensive is just a sweetened version of it,” said Indayla.

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