Hear Mindanao: Requite Evil with Good 

A Statement from Mindanao 

We are profoundly saddened and shocked that the deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law have been indefinitely suspended.

But after the tragic events of Mamasapano we understand the need for reflection. Multi-layered investigations are ongoing. We need to seek the truth, to discover the answers to the many questions about Mamasapano. Justice to all the casualties, combatants and civilians alike demands the truth. In the pursuit of truth, we believe humility is more helpful than arrogance, more helpful than rage or anger. Humility admits one’s own biases and prejudices against others in the search for truth and justice. Humility admits respect for persons or organizations from whom we seek truth.

In this tragic situation, no one has a monopoly on righteousness. No one has a monopoly on guilt. With the wheat grow the weeds. The President has taken responsibility for what happened. He and all of us want to secure the nation from the bloodied hands of terrorists. But the outcome: a half victory that cannot console. Marwan is dead; Usman lives. The cost: the lives of 70 Filipinos: SAF operatives, Mamasapano combatants, and civilians, including one child.

The President was silent on why, as had been formally agreed, there was no coordination with the MILF for the police action in Mamasapano. Certain truths are better left unspoken for now. In the face of the deaths, and the exceeding violence attendant on those deaths, the MILF is conducting its own investigation. It too wants the truth. It too wants to know how 250 of the Bangsamoro, as officially reported by our valiant SAF, could be casualties of an intense firefight no one wanted. In humility and in calm rationality let the truth out. Let responsibilities be pinpointed. Let justice be done.

Meanwhile, let the suspension on the deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law allow us to reflect on our broad aspirations as a people. We do not want war. We want peace.

Let us not forget: the MILF is a revolutionary group. It took up arms against the government in the face of an undeniable history of intolerance, violence and exclusion. We need to know and recognize Bangsamoro history, their political and territorial sovereignty that held sway even in the Manila of Rajah Sulaiman, the massacres (such as Jabidah, Manili, Bud Dajo, Bud Bagsak,) that they have suffered, the 300 years of Moro wars waged against successive governments, Spanish, American, and Filipino, their displacement and that of the Lumad from most of Mindanao through waves of migration from Luzon and the Visayas and land registration policies. They revolted to achieve their aspiration to live their religious convictions and shared culture in peace. Their original call was for independence in quest of a true homeland. The BBL wants to achieve much less than this — self determination in a limited territory while preserving national sovereignty and national integrity.

Forty-five years of intermittent war begot suffering and death to Mindanao. It brought death to more than 150,000 combatants and civilians. Both the Moros and the Philippines came to a shared insight that the road of violence in Mindanao only led to more war, more wailing of widows and children, impoverishment. More was to be gained on the path to peace. Within the framework of the 1987 Constitution, the Moro quest for a homeland where they could live in prosperity as Filipinos fully integrated in the Philippine nation was possible through a path of peace.

That path of peace has been arduous, tread by courageous leaders on both sides who have had to quell powerful objections to peace from within their ranks. The path of peace has been fruitful. In Mindanao, the peace has been kept. Cooperation between the MILF and the Philippine Army through the joint GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, supported widely by a host of civilian groups, has been helpful in securing the peace and in bringing criminals to justice. Our partners in peace eschew the ways of extremism and terrorism. They are for a negotiated political solution. Let us heal our wounded trust in each other, and continue to strengthen each other in achieving peace and prosperity.

Today, precisely because of what happened in Mamasapano, that path should not be abandoned. Hear Mindanao: the peace process should not be imperilled. Let the revolution stop. Let Mindanawons turn factories of war into factories of prosperity. Let those in the north and in the south who are charged with leadership walk humbly, calmly and wisely before the God of Peace together. Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you. Do not requite evil with evil. Requite evil with good, confusion and rage with wisdom, death with life. Pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law that secures justice and peace.

His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD

Archdiocese of Cotabato

His Excellency Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD

Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro

His Excellency Abp. Romulo Valles, DD

Archdiocese of Davao

His Excellency Bp. Guillermo Afable, DD

Diocese of Digos

His Excellency Bp. Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD

Diocese of Marbel

His Excellency Bp. Angelito Lampon, OMI, DD

Vicariate Apostolic of Jolo

His Excellency Bp. George Rimando, DD

Archdiocese of Davao

His Excellency Bp. Patricio Alo, DD

Diocese of Mati

Very Rev. Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ

Provincial Superior

Society of Jesus – Philippine Province

Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF  

Provincial Superior, Claretian Missionaries

Co-chair, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines

Rev. Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ

Ateneo de Davao University

Davao City

Rev. Msgr. Julius C. Rodulfa

Holy Cross College of Davao

Davao City

Sr. Paz P. Paglinawan, OP

Holy Cross College of Magsaysay

Davao del Sur

Rev. Leopoldo R. Naive

Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, Inc.

Davao City

Dr. Lourdes Cabintoy

Philippine Women’s College

Davao City

Dr. Antonio La Viña

Ateneo School of Government

Ateneo de Manila University

Quezon City

Atty. Jaime Hofileña

Vice President for Social Development

Ateneo de Manila University

Fr. Carlos Ronquillo, CssR

St. Aloysius Theological and Mission Institute

Davao City

Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ

Xavier University

Cagayan de Oro City

Prof. Alih Aiyub 

National Ulama Council of the Philippines

Ustadz Noli Darindigon

Asatidz Council of Davao

Jaafar Kimpa

Jabu-Jabu (The Calling) Inc.

Hon. Ismael Musa

Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative

Zamboanga City

Dr. Pendatun Talib

Zamboanga Indigenous Council of Leaders

Sh. Maher Gustaham

Sama and Bajau Council of Leaders

Lt. Gen. Aurelio B. Balabad

Commander

Eastern Mindanao Commands

Ustadz Janor C. Balo

Asatidz Council of Davao

Alliance of Kagan Organizations

Ustadz Nasser Usman

Salam Tribal Council

Hadji Cani Waradje

Ilang Muslim Village, Davao City

Hitler Ganih

Jabu-Jabu (The Calling) Inc.

Arasid Idlana Kimble

Laminusa Peoples Organization

Laminusa, Sulu

Kag. Abdul Tahil

Muslim Community, Brgy Bi-ao, Digos City

Saudi Ismali

Panglima, Km. 10 Sasa Muslim Community

Davao City

Starjoan D. Villanueva

Executive Director

Alternative Forum for Research in Mindanao, Inc.

Davao City

Narciso P. Jover Jr.

Executive Director

Tri-People Concern for Peace, Progress and Development of Mindanao(TRICOM), Inc.

Davao City

Gian Paolo Arago

Focolaire Movement

Dr. Ricardo de Ungria

University of the Philippines – Mindanao

Marshaley Baquiano

University of the Philippines – Visayas

Emmanuel Roldan

Luna Legal Resource Center, Inc.

Davao City

Atty. Romeo Cabarde

University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council

Ateneo de Davao University

Perpevina Tio

Mindanawon Initiatives  for Cultural Dialogue

Ateneo de Davao University

Dr. Gail Ilagan

Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services

Ateneo de Davao University

Atty. Adoracion Avisado

Transformative Justice Institute

Davao City

Regel Kent Asuero

Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Ateneo

Ateneo de Davao University

Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan

Al Qalam Institute

Ateneo de Davao University

Prof. Yusuf Morales

Institute for Comparative and Advanced Studies

Prof. Sharima Sheryl Morales

Polytechnic University  of the Philippines

Prof. Meinrado Martinez

Lyceum University

Hon. Datu Bimbo Ayunan Pasawiran

LGU, Cotabato City

Bailallie S.L. Lidasan 

I-SPEAR

Abdurahim Abdul 

UN Volunteer Alumni

Prime Nover Deles

Mindanaoan Youth Development Council

Jaypee Veradio

Youth Coordinator

Archdiocese of Ozamis

Yockie Guerrero

Youth Coordinator

Archdiocese of Cotabato

Fr. Leomel Puerto

Archdiocese of Davao

Fr. Jemasol Ortiz

Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Council – Youth Secretariate

Fr. Orveil Andrade

Diocese of Mati

Fr. Jeffrey Balanay

Diocese of Iigan

Fr. Rotchel San Diego

Diocese of Ipil

Fr. Roberto Layson, OMI

Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Head, Interreligious Dialogue

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