Davao Activists See States Hand in Mindanao Bombings

Jan. 11, 2007

By Cheryll D. Fiel

DAVAO CITY The spate of bombings in Mindanao on Wednesday could be a scenario concocted by the government to justify an anti-terrorism campaign that has curtailed the civil liberties and violated the human rights of Filipinos, activists from this city said on Thursday.

State security forces could be behind the attacks Wednesday night in the cities of General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato, said Ariel Casilao, spokesman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Southern Mindanao.

“There have been more than 30 bombings in Mindanao and the culpability in many of these cases points to no less than the elements of the state’s armed forces,” Casilao said in a press conference today that served as a send-off event for him and his fellow activists who were bound for Cebu to join the protests there against the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Casilao said the bombings are meant to create conditions that will allow President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to push for the passage of the anti-terrorism bill pending in Congress. “President Arroyo desperately wants this long-pending special law in the Senate, which is much needed in her bid to make the country a leader in the US-led war on terror in the region,” Casilao said.

Authorities said the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah could be behind the attacks.

Some 17 activists from Davao left today for Cebu to join the protest actions that will be staged in time for the formal opening of the summit tomorrow. Most of the contingents are leaders of farmers, urban poor, workers, women, youth, Moro and Lumad sectors. A cultural team also went with the contingent.

Casilao said the postponement of the summit last December did not affect their preparations because they had planned ahead of the schedule. “It was President Arroyo who suffered a backfire when the summit was postponed. She made a political blunder,” he said.

The Cebu-bound activists maybe fewer in numbers now but all the same, the issues that they are going to register remain, Casilao said.

Casilao said they would make sure Mindanao would have a voice in the summit.

The team from Davao expects to join an estimated 5,000 protesters in Cebu from all over the country. (Cheryll D. Fiel/davaotoday.com)

[tags]davao today, mindanao, bombings, terrorism, bayan, philippines[/tags]

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