Hear Mindanao: Requite Evil with Good

[The “Statement from Mindanao” as enhanced by Orlando Cardinal Quevedo of Cotabato and signed by religious, military, indigenous peoples, and civil service organisation leaders in Mindanao.  Published today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer]

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 Excellence Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD

Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro


His Excellence Abp. Romulo Valles, DD

Archdiocese of Davao


His Excellence Bp. Guillermo Afable, DD

Diocese of Digos


His Excellence Bp. Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD

Diocese of Marbel


His Excellence Bp. Angelito Lampon, OMI, DD

Vicariate Apostolic of Jolo


His Excellence Bp. George Rimando, DD

Archdiocese of Davao


His Excellence 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


Fr. Carlos Ronquillo, CssR

St. Aloysius Theological and Mission Institute

Davao City


Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ

Xavier University

Cagayan de Oro City



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


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


Emmanuel Roldan

Executive Director

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


Prof. Alih Aiyub

National Ulama Council of the Philippines


Hon. Datu Bimbo Ayunan Pasawiran

LGU, Cotabato City


Bailallie S.L. Lidasan



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

Parish of Santo Niño, Senator Benigno Aquino, Kulaman, Sultan Kudarat.


About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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