Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 2): Stand With Marawi. Save The Peace Process. Defend Our Rights: MPW
The Mindanao Peace Weavers (MPW) along with its convening networks and allied peace partners condemned in the strongest terms the terror that is besieging Marawi City.
In a statement, they said, “We are deeply saddened that this tragedy occurred during the Holy Month of Ramadhan, a period of spiritual reflection for Muslims. But for the people of Marawi, it is currently a disquieting time when danger, violence, and death are at their doorsteps.
They appealed to the heart and conscience of President Duterte to see the face of humanitarian crisis.
They also invoked the state’s responsibility to protect and fulfill the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) during evacuation until their safe and dignified return to Marawi City.
“In hindsight, we believe that a combination of keen foresight and leadership coupled with political will and military intelligence, the government can address the crisis situation in Marawi without resorting to a declaration of Martial Law”, they said.
“We are disheartened with the extent of civilian casualties - most of whom are women and children - caught in the crossfire while fleeing to safer grounds’, they said in the statement.
“The Marawi crisis is considered the tipping point of the Martial Law declaration. But we pray that martial rule won’t be the last straw before we lose the gains in the peace processes through the years. Despite the safeguards that are already embodied in the 1987 Constitution, we still dread the thought of Martial Law turning draconian in the days and weeks to come. Because, as a country, we committed to listen to the wisdom of history – “Never Again” – was our collective mantra in the aftermath of the Marcos dictatorship. Yet now in a seeming instance, Martial Law is upon us again” they also said in the statement.
In the same statement, the group said that, “We are seriously alarmed with the declaration of the 60-day Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao. Appalled by the sudden turn of events, we as advocates of civil liberties remain wary of the factual basis and intention of this proclamation”, they said.
The group’s urgent appeals were as follows:
For President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr, DND Sec Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, Western Mindanao Command Chief MGen Carlito Galvez Jr, DSWD Sec Judy Taguiwalo, Peace Negotiators in the Bangsamoro peace process and the GRP-NDFP peace process, BTC Chair Ghadzali Jaafar, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr, Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez, Peace and Order Councils of ARMM, Lanao del Sur and Norte, Regions 10, 11 and Region 12, and humanitarian groups :
1. Support the appeal towards a “humanitarian passage”-- a half-day “cease and desist from all forms of armed action”and invoke universally-accepted protocols on displacement and civilian protection accorded to IDPs and at the same time with deference to the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadhan.
2. Provision of humanitarian corridor/s within Marawi City or adjacent towns where IDPs have sought/can seek refuge, to ensure their safe passage, safety, security and unhampered access to humanitarian aid in these buffer zones.
3. For the security actors, in concert with the Marawi city government and trusted local mediators to address the hostage situation and secure the safety of Fr Teresito Suganob, his staff, parishioners and any other residents who are still being held captive by the Maute militants.
4. Mobilize broad support for prompt and adequate humanitarian assistance in coordination with the ARMM-HEART and the local multi-stakeholder convergence on emergency support and crisis response in the cities of Marawi, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
5. Immediately stop the airstrikes, indiscriminate firing and artillery shelling directed at civilian dwellings and public structures wherein trapped IDPs are seeking sanctuary. Forcing them out with the razing of these structures effectively puts them further at risk and in harm’s way.
6. We appeal to President Duterte to continue upholding the primacy of the peace process. Corollary to this, we are respectfully requesting that the declaration of Martial Law be rescinded. While the military action in Marawi and adjacent towns continues, we hope this will not affect the momentum and continuance of both the Bangsamoro and the GRP-NDFP peace tables and the unimpeded implementation of all signed interim and final peace agreements;
7. We urge both the government forces and the New Peoples Army (NPA) to withdraw/reposition their troops and discontinue any armed offensives especially in remote villages and ancestral domains of IPs. Sporadic attacks, harassments and militarization further contribute to an explosive situation in the midst of a Martial Law imposition;
8. Lastly, we call on all citizens to remain vigilant, defend your rights, organize and engage our communities to actively monitor the situation on the ground, and help contribute in conflict mitigation and de-escalation.
Finally, as the President himself recognized and admitted in the past, no military solution can ever resolve the deep socio-economic and political problems that have blighted our land and bred terror and extremism that we are confronting today. What is needed is recognition of the legitimate grievances, historical injustices and ongoing justice issues perpetrated on our peoples and addressing the root causes of armed conflict through structural change.