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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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