In light of the Muslim people’s observance of the Eid’l Adha on November 27, Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights appeal to the Ustadz, Imam and the Ulama to devote their sermons and prayer in calling for peace and justice and hope to reign in Maguindanao and the whole of Mindanao.In light of the Muslim people’s observance of the Eid’l Adha on November 27, Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights appeal to the Ustadz, Imam and the Ulama to devote their sermons and prayer in calling for peace and justice and hope to reign in Maguindanao and the whole of Mindanao.

According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro, without sounding disrespectful in the observance to one of the holy festival of the Muslim people, the Eid’l Adha , the group implore on their religious leaders to take a stand on the massacre incident in Maguindanao on November 23.

Lidasan lifts a quote from the Holy Qur’an as basis for this call and says it is imperative for the religious leaders to take a stand in defense of the people of Maguindanao and to preempt future violence to
happen again in Maguindanao and the rest of the Moro areas: Qur’an 4:75-76 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)
And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who being weak are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men women and children whose cry is: “Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!”
Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

‘This is a defining moment for the Moro people of Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. We should publicly condemn the killings and not let political and familial affiliations hinder our
responsibility as Muslims to condemn this act,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan also said that it is the responsibility of the Muslim religious leaders to put back in the hearts and minds of Muslim people that there is nothing to fear but Allah alone, instead of helping perpetuate the fear of politicians and warlord prevail in Maguindanao and the ARMM.

Lidasan grieves with the families and friends of the victims and hopes to reach out with the rest of the Filipino people in condemning this dastardly act. ‘We hope that the Moro people’s outcry be also highlighted as part of public’s outrage. We are in unity with the rest in calling for an end to the culture of impunity to reign in Maguindanao,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that this is not merely a traditional rido and the public should not be led to believe that this is natural or merely part of Moro people’s tradition and culture.

Lidasan said that simplifying the massacre as mere ‘rido’ or traditional clan war is glossing over the heinous crime committed by the warlords – the killing of mustadafins (oppressed) such as the women and the unarmed people who died in the incident – and exonerating the perpetrators from their crime.

Lidasan also criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and
presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and the rest of the
administration party’s move to expell the Ampatuans from their ranks,
adding that the administration merely absolve themselves from being
party to the rise and continuing warlordism of the Ampatuans in
Maguindanao.

‘We should not ignore that it is the same administration who gave the
Ampatuans the leverage over other politicians in Maguindanao in
exchange for the votes that the administration had been getting from
Maguindanao and the ARMM,’ said Lidasan saying that the administration
and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liable for
the proliferation of ‘legitimized’ private armies through the EO 546
creating the civilian auxiliary armies for local government units.

According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara
Bangsamoro, without sounding disrespectful in the observance to one of
the holy festival of the Muslim people, the Eid’l Adha , the group
implore on their religious leaders to take a stand on the massacre
incident in Maguindanao on November 23.

Lidasan lifts a quote from the Holy Qur’an as basis for this call and
says it is imperative for the religious leaders to take a stand in
defense of the people of Maguindanao and to preempt future violence to
happen again in Maguindanao and the rest of the Moro areas:
Qur’an 4:75-76 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)
And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who
being weak are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men women and children
whose cry is: “Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise
for us from Thee one who will help!”
Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject
faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of
Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

‘This is a defining moment for the Moro people of Maguindanao and the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. We should publicly condemn the
killings and not let political and familial affiliations hinder our
responsibility as Muslims to condemn this act,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan also said that it is the responsibility of the Muslim
religious leaders to put back in the hearts and minds of Muslim people
that there is nothing to fear but Allah alone, instead of helping
perpetuate the fear of politicians and warlord prevail in Maguindanao
and the ARMM.

Lidasan grieves with the families and friends of the victims and hopes
to reach out with the rest of the Filipino people in condemning this
dastardly act.
‘We hope that the Moro people’s outcry be also highlighted as part of
public’s outrage. We are in unity with the rest in calling for an end
to the culture of impunity to reign in Maguindanao,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that this is not merely a traditional rido and the public
should not be led to believe that this is natural or merely part of
Moro people’s tradition and culture.

Lidasan said that simplifying the massacre as mere ‘rido’ or
traditional clan war is glossing over the heinous crime committed by
the warlords – the killing of mustadafins (oppressed) such as the
women and the unarmed people who died in the incident – and
exonerating the perpetrators from their crime.

Lidasan also criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and
presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and the rest of the
administration party’s move to expell the Ampatuans from their ranks,
adding that the administration merely absolve themselves from being
party to the rise and continuing warlordism of the Ampatuans in
Maguindanao.

‘We should not ignore that it is the same administration who gave the
Ampatuans the leverage over other politicians in Maguindanao in
exchange for the votes that the administration had been getting from
Maguindanao and the ARMM,’ said Lidasan saying that the administration
and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liable for
the proliferation of ‘legitimized’ private armies through the EO 546
creating the civilian auxiliary armies for local government units.

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Suara Bangsamoro joins the rest of the Filipino people in mourning the
death of women, journalists and lawyers in Maguindanao on November 24
and calls on fellow Muslims in the country to publicly condemn to the
highest term the massacre and call on President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo to punish the perpetrators.

“As Muslims, we should condemn the bloodbath and we shun the
perception that this is merely a traditional rido (clan war). This is
senseless killing of power-hungry politicians,” said Amirah Ali
Lidasan, spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro.

“It is high time we show a united stand of the Muslims.  It is high
time we put our fear of Allah in our hearts and not fear of
politicians and warlords,” Lidasan said.

Lidasan further said that this incident should unite Muslims and
Christians in Mindanao and not let anyone provoke to crack the
interfaith unity of the people in Mindanao.

“We will participate all activities of condemnation led by Christian
groups, lawyers and Mindanao to show our unity with the rest of the
Mindanaoans in calling for justice for this incident,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that this is a trying time for President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo who helped propel into power a political ally that
has secured her vote leverage since 2001 in Maguindanao.

“The cloak of fear and impunity be removed in Maguindanao, and no
other person has the political will to stop the killing and
proliferation of violence but President Arroyo,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan also said that President Arroyo and the 6th Infantry Division
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liaible for
the proliferation of “legitimized” private armies of warlord
politicians in Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao due to the Executive Order 546 which established in 2006
civilian volunteer organizations (CVOSs) and other paramilitary groups
as buffers for local government units in their fight against
insurgency.

“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should call for at least Datu Unsay
Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr, the identified leader of the suspects, to
step down from his post  to provide an atmosphere of safety and
security for the Commission on Human Rights and other human rights
organizations who want to be part of the independent investigation and
to avoid whitewash and cover up in the investigation,”  said Lidasan.

Suara Bangsamoro also calls on the rest of the Moro people to publicly
condemn the killings and not let political and familial affiliations
to the Ampatuan clan hinder our responsibility as Muslims to condemn
this act.

Lidasan also lambasted the declaration of state of emergency in
Cotabato, saying that it will only help exonerate the perpetrators of
any responsibility for the killing, shifts the focus of policing,
militarization  and investigation from the Ampatuan clan to legitimate
groups waging armed struggle in the areas of South Cotabato and
Maguindanao such as the New Peoples Army and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front and other families
who were not part of the bloodbath.

President Arroyo should scrap EO546 and junk all programs and policies
of creating paramilitary groups trained by the AFP and assigned to
local government units and those created to protect private and
multinational plantations and mining companies such as the Investment
Defense Force and Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAAs) who put up
and man illegal checkpoints.

The militant Moro rights group Suara Bangsamoro lambasts the Court of Appeals decision which acquitted US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith on charges of rape against “Nicole” and also ordered for his release from imprisonment.

“The Court of Appeals decision is unjust and prejudiced, and is a clear indication of the government’s continuing subservience to the interests of the US government,” said Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro adding that letting Corporal Smith off the hook gives a go-signal to other US troops stationed in the country to commit crimes with impunity.

According to Lidasan, her group Suara Bangsamoro has long lobbied for the removal of US soldiers stationed in Moro areas in Mindanao since 2001 citing numerous reports of human rights violations committed by US soldiers against the Moro civilians.

In 2002, a Moro farmer named Buyung-Buyung Isnijal was shot by an American soldier who took part in a combat operation as part of the in US-RP Balikatan Military Exercises Tuburan, Basilan. In 2004, a US soldier shot and maimed a Moro resident of Zamboanga City while conducting a marksmanship training. On September 2006 where shrapnels of a misfired bomb hit the back of a 50-year old mother Bizma Juhan in Indanan, Sulu.

Added to these are reports of US troops presence and involvement in several Filipino military combat operations that has left civilian casualties such as the massacre of a family in Maimbong, Sulu on February 2008.

None of these Moro victims had been able to charge US soldiers of violating their right to live in fear that their cases will not push through in the local courts.
“The CA decision only reinforces the Moro people’s belief that they have nothing to hope for in case they file criminal charges against the US soldiers,” said Lidasan adding that the Philippine government has always justified the presence and activities of US soldiers in Mindanao as protected by the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Lidasan said her group hopes that the progressive and nationalist lawmakers in both Senate and Congress will act immediately to abrogate the VFA saying that as long as the VFA is intact, Filipino and Moro civilians will continue to be vulnerable against US soldiers’ atrocities.

COTABATO CITY – The Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization, a broad Moro organization organized in Mindanao which adheres for the advancement of human rights, strongly condemn the recent surveillance activity of a military agent to its spokesperson, Bai Ali Indayla.

 

A Specialist of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) named Napoleon Olvara Aragones went Tuesday, February 10, to Student Affairs Office of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) and gather information regarding Indayla’s profile and activities.

 

Aragones further asked several teachers concerning Indayla’s home address and daily whereabouts, photocopied her photo from their yearbook and got copies of CCSPC’s student publication since Indayla was the Editor-in-Chief.

 

According to the group, the surveillance or “profiling” of Indayla is a clear act of harassment and violation of right to privacy, civil and political rights.

 

Prior stint as Kawagib’s spokesperson, Indayla is a campus journalist and student-leader; apparent reasons of NICA’s surveillance.    

 

Indayla said, “The continuing crackdown of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya II (OBL II) haunts not only activists but also church people, journalists and human rights defenders. Under OBL II, critics of the government are tagged as “enemies of the state” and became target of abduction, summary execution and other forms of human rights violations. The government is persevere in attaining their goal – neutralize if not execute all critics fighting for parliamentary struggle.”

 

According to KARAPATAN, a national alliance of human rights organizations, victims of extra-judicial killings under Arroyo’s occupancy have already reached 991. Most of these are known activist-leaders and critics of Arroyo government.

 

“It is very disheartening to reflect that state agents who are supposed to be the ones guaranteeing civilians’ rights are the same people who desecrate it. What they’re doing contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other international humanitarian laws’ declaration, more so, the Philippine Constitution,” Indayla lamented.

 

The Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization calls the NICA and all intelligence units of Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to stop the surveillance and respect the rights of Bai Ali Indayla and all human rights defenders.

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Muslims and Christians here bestow some assistance to the people of North Cotabato province which since June, this year, were victims of new round of incessant clashes between elements of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP ) after the Government of the Republic of the Philippines ( GRP ) abandoned the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (Moa-AD).

 Dubbed ‘Duyog sa Ramadhan,’ Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization spearheaded a relief mission with the support of National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and ACT International to evacuees of three municipalities – Aleosan, Midsayap and Pikit from September 29 to 30.

Amirah Ali Lidasan , president of Suara Bangsamoro , said, “This is just a modest respite to the protracted torment of Moro people.”

Evacuees in barangays Katinggawan, Rangaban, Baliki and Lindongan of Midsayap; Bagolibas and Pagangan of Aleosan; and Nalapaan of Pikit were the recipients of food pack composes of rice, monggo, sugar, coffee, salt and dried fish.

 

Meanwhile, Bai Ali Indayla , Kawagib’s spokesperson, lamented over the grim plight of people in the evacuation centers, where Muslim women and children were the most affected.

“It dismays that despite the calls of the Moro people to stop the clashes in respect for Ramadhan observance, nobody from the military ranks heeded. When will this war end when military’s detachments are beside the evacuation centers and Moro communities? This government showed no sign of respect to the most significant occasion of Muslims,” Indayla said.

 

The Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib jointly call for the pull-out of detachments and military forces in Barangays Dalingaoen and Batulawan, both in Pikit and all affected areas of North Cotabato .

“If only the AFP will pull-out their troops in Moro communities, there will be no more evacuees. The desecration of lives as well as devastation of properties of Moro people is not a warranty of Commanders Amerin Ombra Kato, Bravo and Ustadz Wahid Tundok ’s surrender. Muslims in the evacuation centers have only one wish – that they could return homes and celebrate Eid’l Ftr peacefully,” Indayla said.

 

Ptr. Felixberto Rodinas of Promotion of Church and People’s Response in North Cotabato (PCPR-NC) said, “We contradict Muslim-Christian conflict. The Bangsamoro people had long been tortured with social injustices as well as non-Moro. That’s why we believe that through interfaith solidarity, we could achieve peace and justice.”

The groups reiterate call for AFP to stop attacking Moro communities and for the GRP to show sincerity in giving the Bangsamoro people its aspirations.

The relief mission was also supported by Cotabato Regional Ecumenical Council (COREC), Interfaith Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights-North Cotabato (IFFAPR-NC) and PCPR-NC

Suara Bangsamoro expresses fear over the recent announcement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. about aborting the peace negotiation between the GRP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front saying that this would further lead to escalation of violence in the communities that has resulted to more than 360,000 civilians caused by the month-long military offensives by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and skirmishes with the MILF.

According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People), the Arroyo administration should know better than abandon the path to peace and replace it with another all-out war with the MILF.

President Arroyo owe it to the lives of both Muslim and Christian civilians who have been displaced because of the all-out war posturing of the Arroyo administration, and whose properties were destroyed and whose inter-religious relationships with fellow communities were affected due to supporting vigilante groups that fan anti-Muslim hysteria in the communities,”  said Lidasan.

Lidasan also reacts to the pronouncement of Teodoro that the MILF is now irrelevant because their leadership would not give up the two commanders to the national government saying that Teodoro should know how to respect the ceasefire committees and international local monitoring teams formed as a result of the first agenda of the GRP-MILF peace negotiations.

Should the government continue to disregard the concrete mechanisms that have resulted to the previous agreements such as ceasefire and relief and rehabilitation, it would only show that it is not interested in implementing the signed agreements.

“Who will really lose its credibility to the international community in terms of brokering peace?  With the war and chaos now happening in Mindanao, what credibility does the Arroyo administration can show to the international community except being brutal and incapable of addressing the needs of her constituents,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan criticized the Arroyo administration’s adamant use of the disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation (DDR) framework for the peace negotiation, saying that this was not a result of the promise of a compromised or negotiated settlement that has been the basis for the MILF’s agreement to resume peace negotiation with the Philippine government as agreed in the 2001 GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement.

Lidasan further said that her organization fears that should the Arroyo administration use the Oplan Bantay Laya approach to the MILF, many Moro activists and innocent civilians will also suffer the fate of thousands of activists killed and abducted in suspicion of being members of the National Democratic Front-New People’s Army-Communist Party of the Philippines.

Already, local government units and the Philippine National Police have been supplying arms to civilians and reviving vigilante groups by rekindling the Ilaga movement and fanning anti-Muslim hysteria in the community.  As a result, many houses of Muslims have been burned in North Cotabato that went unreported, and many houses in Iligan were burned but pinned the blame to the MILF commanders.

“It is the responsibility of the president to keep the atmosphere of peace in Mindanao, yet instead of stopping the unwarranted violence, her policies was like a gasoline that further inflamed violence in Mindanao,” said Lidasan.

Lidasan calls on to inter-religious community to help calm the people by explaining to civilians the real situation on the ground and by exposing the opportunists like the Ilaga vigilante groups, private armies of local warlords and paramilitary groups that seek to break the unity of Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.

Lidasan invites everyone to visit Muslim communities and evacuation centers in the whole month of Ramadhan and experience with the Moro evacuees their observance of the holy fast and their celebration of Hari Raya Puasa or Eid’l Fitr at the end of the month of September.