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Muslim Filipinos hurting after Mamasapano clash too

Posted on 05 March 2015 by Zehlhez

February 25, 2015 7:00pm
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SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao – The families of the 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force troopers killed in a clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao are not the only ones hurting.

In Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, the path leading to the area where the SAF’s 55th Special Action Company was caught in a firefight on Jan. 25 is strewn with banners calling for peace and for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Alongside those banners are others criticizing senators, including one who has withdrawn support for the BBL and has been insisting that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a terrorist group. These banners, made of sack cloth, also call for justice for the civilians killed and for residents who lost their crops and livestock during the clash.

One group, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, said it sympathizes with all the victims of the clash, adding that Muslim Filipinos directly affected by it are suffering a month since the incident.

“Ang pinaka-biktima ng pangyayaring iyon ay mahigit sa walong libong sibilyan na ngayon ay nasa mga evacuation centers,” it said in a statement.

Regard for Muslim Filipinos, most of whom have nothing to do with the clash, has also taken a hit, the group said.

“Sa mga nagagalit sa mga Muslim at sinasabing di sila mapagkatiwalaan: Kung kasalan man ‘yon ng ilang Muslim, kailangan bang idawit ang [lahat ng] mga Muslim?” the group said in an e-mail to GMA News Online.”

“Hindi ba ito lalong makapaghati-hati sa mamamayan at maging sanhi pa ng kaguluhan?”

CBCS is the lead convener of the Sulong Bangsamoro Movement, which held a rally in front of the statue of Sultan Kudarat on PC Hill in Cotabato City on Wednesday to urge passage of the BBL, which they say has been held hostage after the Mamasapano clash.

“Huwag idamay ang BBL sa nangyari sa Mamasapano,” the group, which was joined by members of civil society organizations and some who have been displaced by conflict, said.

‘Not seen as Filipinos’

MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar said the same later Wednesday during a meeting with a police panel investigating the clash.

“Walang kasalanan ang BBL,” he said. “Iba ‘yan sa nangyari sa Mamasapano.”

Jaafar also said that the MILF is trying to calm Muslim Filipinos in the area who, watching and hearing about hearings at the Senate and the House of Representatives, feel “that they are not seen as Filipinos.”

He said that the Bangsamoro are citizens of the Republic of the Philippines.

The vice chairman pointed out: “Marami sa mga Muslim, binoto rin ‘yang mga senators na ‘yan.”

Gathering support for BBL

Aside from civil society, at least one local government aside from Mamasapano town is also supportive of the passage of the BBL, which is meant to implement the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

Samsudin Dimaukom, mayor of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan in Maguindanao, said in a chance interview with reporters on Tuesday that he will hold a forum later this week to gather support for the BBL.

He said the municipal council is set to issue a resolution calling for the passage of the Bangsamoro bill.

“Mahirap ang gulo. Nakita ko na ‘yan,” he said, adding that the town is only now starting to develop since the last large-scale conflict in 2008.

Speaking from his pink mayor’s compound in front of a mosque painted all pink, Dimaukom said things have improved much since the ceasefire.

He said, though, that his constituents are worried that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group from the MILF, could withdraw to their area after coordinated operations by the MILF and the Philippine Army against them in towns in Cotabato and Maguindanao. — BM/ELR, GMA News

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