A Special Report on Human Rights in Sulu:
Waiting for the Elusive
Last of 3 parts
many of the Moro people – not only for the MNLF forces under the command of
Chairman Nur Misuari – the government (GRP) has betrayed and continues to
violate the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 peace agreement.
MATIMBUNG, Sulu - “For
seven and a half years to date, the Junior Cadre Officer Corps (JCOC) of the
MNLF waited in high hopes for the full and proper implementation of the Final
Peace Agreement (FPA) but in vain,” the JCOC stated in its manifesto.
The JCOC lamented that
since the signing of the FPA in 1996, no significant development was ever felt
in the poor Bangsamoro communities, particularly in the island provinces of the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Sometime in 2001, the MNLF
split into factions—the mainstream MNLF of Misuari, which Ustadz Malik claimed
that they are, and the Executive Council of 15 that is the breakaway group.
“They are the ones who went out of the organization, hence, they are the
breakaway group,” Ustadz Malik clarified.
All groups, however,
pronounced that they are still covered by the FPA as each group has been
embracing the peace provisions.
Yet, as MCPA put it, “The
massacre once again demonstrates the military’s utter disregard for peace and
civilian rights” noting that “If there was no other ulterior motive, the
government’s potent attitude would have been remorse and reconciliation. But
troop movements in the area proved otherwise. After the massacre, it seemed the
military was bracing for large-scale operations.”
“The boldness of the MNLF
to engage the government troops in a full scale war was the ultimate act of an
enraged people who had long tried to hold back their discontent over the
shameless and arrogant betrayal of the government to their cause,” MCPA further
stated. “And as if waiting for the right cue, the MNLF’s retaliation has been
used as pretext by the military to justify its call for a full-scale war in Sulu.”
In a public forum, Dr.
Abdulrackman Amin, MNLF Liaison Officer to the Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC), cited some of the violations as such: military troop movements
in MNLF territories in the form of regular military operations or under the
guise of Balikatan Exercises; killings of known MNLF leaders and commanders;
sowing intrigue and fueling division within the MNLF leadership and organization
by electing the MNLF Committee of 15 -- an organ which was non-existent prior to
the signing of the Peace Agreement; undermining the MNLF organization by trying
to discredit and abrogate its position in the OIC; and continued incarceration
of Chairman Nur Misuari and the conspicuous cold-shoulder treatment of his case.
The JCOC also demanded a
separate MNLF formation in the AFP and pushes for the critical review of the FPA
with a view to institute remedial measures to whatever flaws and shortcomings in
the implementation of the process.
Meanwhile, the Kalinaw
Mindanaw Fact-Finding Mission concluded that there is a “blatant disregard of
the 1996 Final Peace Agreement on the side of the government.”
Long confronted with the
demands for justice and lasting peace, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
however, ordered no ceasefire since the outbreak. Kalinaw Mindanaw said,
instead, state terrorism is clearly manifested through the violation of peace
agreements and the international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, the women sector
in Sulu calls for the end of military offensives and the pullout of military
troops. “The war has sent psychological trauma to our kids and they can’t go to
school now because most of the schools have been turned into military camps and
evacuation centers,” they said.
“If they can’t govern us
well, better yet, the government gives us our freedom and independence,” the
women’s group demanded. Bulatlat
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