January 7, 2006
Reference: Zaynab Ampatuan
Moro people do not welcome US troops in mindanao!
Vow to stage series of protests against Balikatan
The United Voice of the Bangsamoro or SUARA Bangsamoro condemns the impending month-long
US-RP joint military exercise which will start on January 17 in Carmen, North Cotabato and the end of the month in the island of Sulu and vow that they will stage series of protests against the holding of Balance Piston 2006.
The Moro people have nothing to gain by accommodating the US troops in their communities except the possibility of being made live targets of the US troops in their anti-terror training, said Zaynab Ampatuan, deputy secretary-general of Suara Bangsamoro.
Ampatuan said that just like last years protest, her group in Cotabato
City , North Cotabato and Maguindanao will join the rest of the Moro people and people in Mindanao who will protest the commencement of the joint militayr exercise in North Cotabato this year.
Ampatuan said that in the past the joint military exercise have not confined their military operations inside camp, contrary to the militarys claim that the training will remain inside Camp Lucero in Carmen, North Cotabato .
Balance Piston 2006 is no different from the past joint military exercises where the participants needed to have a vast community of Moro people that would provide them the feeling of danger. This is the reason why they chose Mindanao as their venue, and the Moro areas in particular which their embassy officials called the mecca of terrorism - lairs of Abu Sayyaf and Jeemayat Islamiya, said Ampatuan.
Ampatuan recalls that the mere sight of American soldiers and their helicopters roving around Bgy. Darapanan in Carmen during last years Balance Piston scared the wits out of an old woman who was a veteran evacuee of all-out wars in Mindanao . The old woman died of heart attack.
Ampatuan also re-echoed the report of the Concerned Citizens of Sulu that US soldiers are directly involved in the Philippine militarys manhunt operations, as what the residents
of Indanan municipality witnessed during military offensives against Abu Sayyaf that spilled over influence areas of the Moro National Liberation Front in November last year.
She also recalled that there were also reports of US soldiers participation in the military offensives in Talayan, Maguindanao in June last year in which the Moro Islamic Liberation Front gave way to the 6th Infantry Divisions manhunt operations against the Abu Sayyaf and left their camp in the village of Guindolongan.
The Moro people have been witnesses to the direct and active participation of US soldiers in last years military offensives in their communities, despite of the US officials assurances that they were merely doing socio-civic
actions in the communities, said Ampatuan.
Ampatuan is wary of the sugar-coated words of the US officials that they intend only to give out development projects inside Moro communities.
It is ironic that it is the heavily armed US soldiers who will hand out the sewing machines and hospital equipment and construct infrastructures in our communities, knowing that these same people are the ones who trained to kill all those who looked like Bin Laden, their trained terrorist-turned-enemy, said Ampatuan.
Ampatuan said that early part of last year the 6th ID in Cotabato
City have been putting up posters about the Balikatan encouraging the people of the city to accept the presence of the US troops. This was after US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone called Cotabato City as doormat to terrorism.
She said that it is no comfort for the Moro people knowing that the US government still ranks high in giving war armaments and aid, and directly train the mercenaries in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who have a long list of human rights violations committed
against the Moro people.#