Wisdom better than weapons of war
We, from Solidarity Philippines, join the Filipino people in condemning the terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in Marawi City, which have caused unnecessary loss of lives and destruction of homes and establishments, including church and school buildings. We deplore the abduction of 16 people, including a Catholic priest, Fr. Teresito Suganob, who have been taken hostage, and whose situation remains uncertain as we write.
We call on President Duterte to reassess and reconsider his decision to place Mindanao under martial law as the solution to the ongoing crisis. We remind the President that he should be true to his pronouncements that resolving the conflict in Mindanao should be rooted on “correcting
the historical injustice in Mindanao”—meaning, addressing the Moro people’s basic problems of landlessness due to monopoly of big landlords and foreign plantations and large-scale mining, pervasive poverty, government neglect of basic social services, discrimination, and the countless violations of the right to self-determination, among others. Without addressing these basic problems, the crisis situation in Muslim Mindanao and the whole Philippines will persist.
The Bible says, “Wisdom is better than the weapons of war” (Ecc 9:18). On the global stage, it has been shown that weapons cannot contain fanatical groups, they only aggravate the situation. Martial law is not the answer, it will only exacerbate human rights violations. We fear for the lives of the civilians who could get caught in the crossfire. We are afraid of the effects of war on the civilian population. Aerial bombings and mortar shelling, indiscriminate firing will only result in more civilian
casualties, among them, Moro brothers and sisters.
The Duterte administration should learn from the Zamboanga siege: The ones who suffered most from that siege were innocent civilians. We call on the government to listen to the voice of wisdom, instead of the sound of guns and bombs.
We believe that the conflict in Marawi and Mindanao is not a case of Islam versus Christianity as others would want to project it. The God of the
Moro people and the Christians is a God of compassion and peace. Hence, we condemn any attempt at distorting religion to exploit the weak and the powerless. Maute terrorists victimize both Christians and Moro alike. Our Moro brothers and sisters believe and trust in a religion of peace; they condemn terrorism as it destroys peaceful and productive relationships among peoples of different faiths.
Lastly, we urge President Duterte to be firm on his stand to proceed with the peace talks with legitimate organizations and groups such as the National Democratic Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front. We believe that honest and genuine discussions of the root cause of armed conflicts will lead us to a just and lasting peace.
Mr. President, please listen to the people and be wary of those who are averse to peace.
Let us remember the dark years of martial law so that we don’t forget how our nation triumphed against the dictatorship. Let us pursue and work for a just and lasting peace. Let us be vigilant. “Martial law, never again!”
SR. PATRICIA FOX, NDS,
for Solidarity Philippines,
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