Posted by: kawagib | October 2, 2008

Moro group records 245,522 victims of war; lambasts AFP’s add’l P10-B budget

COTABATO CITY – A Moro human rights group here expresses fresh apprehension that number of innocent civilian victims will magnify with the persistent military operation against MILF commanders Kato, Bravo and Pangalian, now that Ramadhan had concluded.

The Kawagib Moro Human Rights Group has documented, since June, 14 types of human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) that has affected 245,522 individuals from the three provinces of Central Mindananao – North Cotabato , Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan.

Bulk of these cases are victims of forcible evacuation due to indiscriminate firing, shelling and aerial bombing while the gravest human rights violation transpired was the massacre of Daya family in Barangay Tee, Datu Piang, Maguindanao, where six are killed – four are children and a pregnant teenager.

Bai Ali Indayla, the group’s spokesperson, said, “Moro residents of Datu Piang and Datu Saudi Ampatuan, reported that around 70 houses were conflagrated and 18 families were divested of their properties by military elements designated in their communities. And these violations transpired while Muslims observe Ramadhan.”

Moreover, Kawagib criticizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines ’ (AFP) additional P10 billion-budget in the ground of an effective hunt against their so-called ‘rogue MILF commanders’ and materiel upgrade. Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.. proposed the additional budget which amounts to a 17.7% increase in the P56.6 billion already earmarked under the 2009 national budget.

Indayla stressed that instead of additional war paraphernalia, the proposed additional budget is of big help to supplement assistance to affected civilians.

“The AFP’s bombs and bullets target not only Commanders Kato, Bravo and Pangalian but large number of innocent people. Much has been killed and it’s very disheartening that our military troops that supposed to be the ‘people’s safeguard’ only treat the victims as collateral damage,” Indayla lamented.

Further, the group appeals to the conflicting parties (GRP and MILF) to heed the cry of innocent civilians, respect the rights of the Bangsamoro people and return to the negotiating table.

A National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission, to be spearheaded by Kawagib and several rights and church groups, will be conducted this month in Central Mindanao .

“We call all sectors to support the mission so that we can give a little relief to our Muslim and Christian brethrens,” Indayla concluded


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