Over the weekend news broke out about a tragic encounter that happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao between the Special Action Forces of the Philippine National Police and MILF armed groups where around 60 people were killed and a few got wounded. We commiserate with the families of those who perished. We feel saddened and shocked over this incident especially that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are on the negotiating tables and working for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in both Congress and Senate.
As a network of social development organizations working for peace and development, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc (PMPI) reaffirms our stand for a peaceful resolution of all conflicts. We call on all parties to prevent further escalation of conflict and violence brought about by this incident. We call the attention of both panels and third party monitors to conduct an impartial and collaborative investigation, learn from the experience and take necessary sanctions if needed. We also urge the public to discourage disinformation and commenting from uninformed judgment until result of the investigation is released.
Already, some legislators have publicly announced their withdrawal their sponsorship or support on the BBL because of this incident. We would like to express our concern about this development. We appeal to them to reconsider their decision. We call on our legislators not to contribute to possible stalling of the passage of BBL in the legislative halls. Instead, let this incident challenge all people in the Congress and Senate, to pass a BBL that will institutionalize mechanisms that will ensure that similar hostilities will not happen again in the future.
Amidst the calls for war, we call on everyone not to give up on peace. We urge each one for sobriety and to clear our heads from negative thoughts that this single incident forebodes of things to come and this will define the fate of BBL and our peace project in Mindanao. Let us pray, reflect and recall the great words of Pope Francis, calling to cease all noises of weapons and to never again engage into war for “war always marks the failure of peace and the defeat of humanity”.
Let us all pursue peace in Mindanao.
Let us offer a short prayer of Pope Francis to Our Lady Untier of Knots for the peace in Mindanao and for those who perished on the armed encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao and let this prayer silence the noises of weapons of war. Click this link for the full text of the prayer.