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  • Zafar Khan
    Poverty & injustice Loren L. Legarda http://www.mb.com.ph/OPED2005021628772.html THE escalation of violence in Sulu and the deaths of both government forces
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2005
      Poverty & injustice
      Loren L. Legarda


      THE escalation of violence in Sulu and the deaths of
      both government forces and MNLF elements have brought
      the battleground once again to the South and has
      rekindled the need for a more stable environment and
      the quest for lasting peace. This brings to mind the
      peace agreement inked by the Ramos government in 1996
      in Jakarta with the MNLF. I was a journalist then
      covering the Jakarta peace talks and had the privilege
      of an inside view of the intricacies of the

      Years before that, I had covered MNLF Chairman Nur
      Misuari in Timbangan, Sulu, one of the MNLF’s training
      camps and had gone to another camp in Datupiang,
      Maguindanao. The MNLF secretary-general was Muslimin
      Sema, now Cotabato City mayor. Even then, the longing
      for peace – a comprehensive, lasting and just
      settlement to decades of Bangsamoro struggle – was all
      our Muslim brothers and sisters aspired for.

      In the 20 years I have travelled in the Muslim areas
      in Mindanao, I have witnessed the poverty brought
      about by years of government neglect and decades of
      intermittent yet bitter fighting. Their right to
      self-determination and a genuine autonomy – that is
      what the Jakarta peace agreement would have
      accomplished had the government shown more sincerity
      and provided more financial support to the
      underdeveloped Muslim areas in the South.

      Poverty and injustice – these are the root causes of
      the Moro struggle which military might will not solve.
      The Sulu crisis today has negated the good deeds of
      some government officials in recent years – of
      development projects and livelihood. The renewed
      fighting has also claimed the lives of the combatants,
      including a dedicated officer, a marine battalion
      commander. It has also caused displacement once again
      of innocent civilians, always the casualties in an
      internal war such as this.

      The government must reassess its pronouncements of "No
      truce" and weigh the repercussions of its judgement.
      Justice must also be given to MNLF Chairman Nur
      Misuari who has been languishing in his Sta. Rosa
      detention cell for almost four years, with his case
      going at a snail’s pace. The violence in Sulu will
      produce no victors, only dead bodies, shattered lives,
      and unrealized dreams.

      Bombings Trigger Fears of Filipino Muslims
      BY REXCEL SORZA, IOL Correspondent


      ILOILO CITY, Philippines, February 15
      (IslamOnline.net) – A member of the Philippine
      Congress Tuesday, February 15, accused operatives of
      the Philippine and United States military of staging
      the bombings in three Philippine cities Monday that
      left 11 dead and 130 wounded.

      The bombings did not only draw condemnation across the
      country, but also worries, particularly among the
      Muslim community, as it may renew police and military
      raids against innocent Filipino Muslims.

      Rep. Crispin Beltran, a member of the House of
      Representatives, said the bombings in Makati City in
      Metro Manila, and Davao and General Santos cities in
      Mindanao, were “too well-coordinated, too-well
      planned” that the Abu Sayyaf group which claimed
      responsibility “could not have been clever or
      well-prepared enough to perpetrate such a
      well-executed plan of terrorism.”

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