Friday, October 17, 2008

Mindanao Communities need undivided attention

I would like to draw readers’ concentration on the recent issue of breaching the human rights and equality occurred in Southern Philippines province. While the struggles for such basic needs are moving forward in the international level, still there are shortcomings to uphold the doctrine particularly in Third World countries. After decades, people of Mindanao are still living in miserable conditions. These include the problem of abject poverty, unsystematic education, and discriminate oriented development.

Indeed, the problems coupled with confrontation attitude shown by government had widened the vast gap of resistance among communities. Since that, they took aggressive approaches as a way of making their voices heard.

But, unfortunately, harsh feedback responded by the government as a reaction to the approaches. Fearing of subversive organizations and their influences to strike out for independence, the region autonomy had been struck off and enforcement of the oppressive rule has taken place in the territory.

Besides, in connection to that, massive number of Philippines troops had been deployed in the territory for the purpose of maintaining public order. However, not longer after the troops had landed, the territory remains disorder and resulted as many as unprecedented incidents. As far as the situation is concerned, the coming of government troops had brought about infringement of human rights and horror death of innocent victims who mostly were Muslims. There are many incidents showing how the army soldiers are disrespecting people rights.

In a very recent report submitted by Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), on September 29th and 30th 2008, Army soldiers belonging to the 64th Infantry Battalion, burned 43 houses, mostly made of semi-permanent materials, in Baragays Pagatin, Sambulawan, and Madia in Datu Piang, Maguindanao after they suffered one of their worst beatings in the two months fighting in the province.

Besides, on the same day, not less than four children and three other persons were wounded in a reported clash near the evacuation centre in Sitio Nimao, Barangay Balanaken.

Previously, a child rights organization had criticized state troops for claiming that children killed in many encounters before were “child warriors,” turning children into targets of military offensives. John Birondo, advocacy officer of the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre (CRC), observed this during the aerial bombardments in Maguindanao in August, where the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) called the children hit by their bombardments as “child warriors” of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

By using the reason of eradicating terrorism, the majority of Civilian had been persecuted as a scapegoat and got caught up in a clash between Arm forces and rebellion. Without any options, they have to sign away their rights to the authorities.

Such incidents which affected civil rights must be prevented from being continued as no one deserves to be treated with this level of disrespect. Otherwise, our hopes to find amicable solutions and to bring peace in the province are going to be dashed forever.

In finding the way to solve the problems, I keep wondering why such issue is not highlighted in the media particularly in the international level? Meanwhile, I found as well no real attention had been given for Mindanao communities by International Organizations, whereas, the problem has been going on for along time. That is why the government keeps brushing off all the avalanche condemnations by critics.

Thus, I call on all international communities to give focus to what is happening in Mindanao and make a force in order to urge Philippines government to uphold the principle of human rights. If the problems are still being swept aside, might genocide or massive massacre take place?


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