The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), peace, good governance and human rights-based network of Moro Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Peoples Organizations (POs) in Mindanao is deeply concerned in the continuing incidents of violence in the region, the latest of which is the bombing of a civilian community in Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan that killed 2 children-siblings and wounding of more than 13 others amidst their celebration of eid’ul fit’r which make the end of 30 day fasting that ended sacrifice in the month of Ramadhan on May 24, 2020.
We also noted that, the Kitango bombing is among the on-going atrocities that adversely affect the lives of thousands of civilians. Continuing displacements due to military operations and RIDO among political leaders and non-state armed groups cases in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Sulu is still commonplace adding to the thousands of still unsettled IDPs in Marawi City.
We are likewise saddened by the sudden death of Secretary to the Mayor of Cotabato City, Anecito “Boy” Rasalan and Prof. Mohamad Taha Abdulgapor, a religious leader, teacher and peace advocate of General Santos City from the hands of unidentified assailants. All of these incidents indicate that peace has not yet reigned in the region.
The tragic incident of bombing in Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan happened while the community people were appeasing themselves from the socio-economic depression brought about by the spread of the dreadful covid-19 pandemic disease. This dastard and criminal act against innocent and peace-loving communities and specially victimizing children is a reprehensible evil act to say the least. It is for this reason that CBCS joins other concerned groups, the BARMM leadership, religious groups, the Ministry of Interior and Local Government, Child Right Network (CRN) in the Philippines and individuals in condemning in the strongest term this bombing even as we condemn other acts of violence committed against any individuals of groups.
While the community points out that the bombing was coming from the direction of a military detachment in the nearby adjacent Barangay of Elian, the military denied having any military operation during that day. The BIFF also denied having to do with the bombing as they too were celebrating eid’ul fit’r during that day.
With both the AFP and the BIFF denying participation in the bombing, the Civil Society Organizations earnestly urge all entities, namely; the police, Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC), the International Monitoring Team (IMT) who are mandated to do the investigation to come up with their findings in order to give justice to the victims and deal with the guilty perpetrators accordingly.
It is for the interest of peace that even during war, the rights of the civilians, especially children shall be protected and respected as mandated by the International Human Rights Law (IHL).
We appeal to all peace-loving citizens to continue be vigilant against all forms of violence even as we call upon the concerned authorities tp dispense justice to all the victims and to put the perpetrators to the bar of justice.
SIGNED on June 4, 2020 at KFI training Center, Dona Pilar St., Pob. 4, Cotabato City
1. Guiamel M. Alim- Chairperson Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS)
2. Alih S. Anso – Alliance of Peace Advocates Inc
3. Yusoph S. Lumambas – Sec. Gen, United Youth for Peace & Dev’t (UNYPAD)
4. Abdullah P. Salik Jr. – Pres,. Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Org. (FBCSO)
5. Sophia Paguital – ForumZFD
6. Naima G. Pendi – President, MWAGG
7. Kusain S. Amino – Kadtabanga Foundation Inc.
By: CBCS Secretariat