Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo de Davao

We stand for peace. Call for an investigation. Act calmly

We stand for peace. Call for an investigation, Act camly.

Statement of Al Qalam Institute on the Mamasapano, Maguindanao PNP SAF
and MILF encounter.

In the name of God, most Compassionate, Lord of Humanity and Lord of Peace.
The Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia of the Ateneo de Davao University is once again calling for sobriety. It encourages everyone to make an extra effort for peace and justice.

News reports stated that “dozens of government troops were killed in a “dawn to dusk” gunbattle in the village of Tukanalipao, Mamansapano, Maguindanao between a team from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) in Manila that apparently did not coordinate with local police and military authorities, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

This may again divide our nation in looking at the conflict in Mindanao. Different groups made statements that seem to create more confusion, misinformation, and disunity among the Filipino people. As a knee jerk reaction, most people tend to react and forget that lives Filipino lives have been lost on both sides, the MILF and the PNP.

As in any encounters in the past between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we have experienced sudden outrage due to the deaths of the soldiers who were killed in Mindanao. But the incident in Maguindanao raises several questions: Who ordered the mission? Who issued the Mission Order and sent those Philippine National Police Special Action Force in the area without knowing the possible scenario?

It is sad to note that, national media and even law makers have not fully understood the complexities of the situation. We need to recognize that our government and the MILF have established a ceasefire mechanism to handle proper coordination protocols on the ground. Despite several major conflicts in the past, the mechanism allowed the peace talks to continue and move forward for more than sixteen (16) years. Unfortunately, it seems that in this case this mechanism was not utilized.

We demand justice for the families of the fallen policemen! We demand justice for the deaths of the MILF troops! If the intel report is correct, then we demand that the AFP – PNP – MILF capture Malaysian national Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan”, who is allegedly a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah.

As a nation, we need to be reminded about the importance of peace in Mindanao. We reiterate that between an “all out war” vs. an “all out peace”, the former has been proven to be the most expensive one. In an “all out war”, innocent civilians are displaced. Properties are destroyed. Children are forced to live in evacuation centers.

We call for our government to conduct a Third Party investigation of what happened in the village of Tukanalipao, Mamansapano, Maguindanao. We need to learn more about the dynamics and complexities of the situation in Mindanao. We need to work together for our peace and security.