Moro Group Lauds ARMM Assembly For Defying BalikatanFebruary 13, 2008 at 4:16 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
An anti-US rally in southern Philippines and a young Muslim woman wears a t-shirt that reads “I Still Hate George Bush.” Anti-US sentiments are growing strong in Muslim areas in the southern region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 13, 2008) – Human rights advocate Suara Bangsamoro hailed Wednesday the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for its strong objection of the Balikatan 2008 in the provinces.
The ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly passed a resolution supporting residents in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City opposing the conduct of the Balikatan, which will begin next Monday.
Balikatan is the codename of the joint military training between the Philippines and the United States.
Bai Ali Indayla, national secretary-general of Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Bangsamoro) lauded the RLA-ARMM for coming up with a resolution that manifests the strong opposition of the people of Lanao del Sur and Islamic city of Marawi on the forthcoming Balikatan exercises.
“We greatly appreciate the effort of the legislative assembly of ARMM to stand in this dubious endeavor of US to Mindanao. The another round of Balikatan exercises is a big insult to the Bangsamoro people who have experienced rights violations committed by the US troops in their past exercises especially in the provinces of Sulu and Basilan,” Indayla said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
She pointed out the case of an MNLF integree, Army Sgt. Ibnul Wahid of Maimbung town in Sulu province who was killed by the military on February 4 in the guise of pursuing the Abu Sayyaf. Ibnul’s wife, Sandrawina Wahid, said she saw four US soldiers on a boat during the raid.
Indayla also underlined that the US humanitarian mission is a mere facade to pacify the Bangsamoro (Muslim) people’s unrest and preparation for a grander plan in Mindanao.
“US troops are not here just for military deployment and permanent basing, but are preparing for another war – war to amass all resources in our rich land. That is their long-standing hidden agenda,” Indayla said.
Her group also urged the ARMM RLA to conduct a separate and thorough investigation on human rights violations committed by US troops in the course of their military exercises. The result would be passed to the Congress to further study the ill-effects of Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to the Bangsamoro and the Filipino people.
“Our officials in the RLA represent the majority number of Moro people in the autonomous region. By doing so, VFA would be junked and the elusive justice will be savored at last by our Muslim brothers and sisters who became victims of US ruthless intervention in Mindanao,” Indayla said.
The Balikatan will be conducted simultaneously in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Cagayan de Oro and North Cotabato on February 18 until March 3. The US said iot will only hold humanitarian and medical missions in those areas. (Mindanao Examiner)