While people in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon fought for their lives in the terrible flood last Tuesday, Mindanaoans also faced their own battle against in 11 municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato led by a newly-formed rebel group called the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM).
“Again, we have seen these violent disturbances affecting our communities in Mindanao,” NYC Commissioner Representing Mindanao Earl Saavedra said. “It has always been a very important issue for us to promote the island as a venue where peace and order complements development and progress.”
The BIFM torched 22 houses in the barangays of Iganagampong, Maitumaig and Meta, in turn destroying communities and forcing schools to close down, affecting 10, 572 pupils, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“The act itself committed by the BIFM deprives each Mindanaoan with the right to live in a tranquil environment, each child with the privilege to go to school, each citizen to unite and participate in constituency building,” Commissioner Saavedra added. “War and terror does not help. By no way will it help attain peace settlements.”
The BIFM is formed by Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato, a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILD) who led attacks in Mindanao after the failed agreement on the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the government in 2008.
“We also condemn these groups spearheading the atrocities in the island who take advantage of the young people who were trained and asked to carry guns and attack communities,” Commissioner Saavedra said. “The strength and vibrancy of young people must be utilized in ways where they can help establish communities and participate in social transformation efforts. They are not for combats where their lives are wasted for senseless reasons.” #
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