Life back to normal in Mamasapano
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2015 - 12:00am

MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao, Philippines – Life has started returning to normal in three conflict-stricken barangays after the Jan. 25 fighting that killed 44 police commandos had driven residents away.

On Wednesday, Chairman Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) assured evacuees that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are trying to peacefully resolve the incident.

Accompanying Rosales to Barangay Tukanalipao to inspect the scene of the 10-hour firefight were Hataman, ARMM Cabinet members and local officials.

Rosales asked the MILF not to allow the incident to affect the initiatives to resolve the decades-old Mindanao Moro issue.

They will also not let the fighting derail the peace process, she added.

Hataman asked families of the four civilians killed in the crossfire to remain calm and continue trusting the government and MILF peace panels.

He handed over P25,000 in cash to ethnic Maguindanaon spouses Toot and Samra, whose daughter Sarah was killed in the crossfire.

Families of three other villagers killed by stray bullets – Badrudin Langalan, Murshid Hashim, and Omar Dagadas – also received P25,000 in cash each from Hataman as initial assistance.

A Maguindanaon peasant named Salik told reporters the tension in Mamasapano had waned considerably after they heard radio reports that MILF chieftain Al-Haj Murad Embrahim and President Aquino assured residents that hostilities  in Barangays Tukanalipao, Pidsandawan and Inog-og would not affect the Mindanao peace process.

“We were so scared of escalation of hostilities, fanned by stories that the government would retaliate for the deaths of more than 40 policemen killed in the encounter,” Salik said in Maguindanaon. 

Rosales said the unfortunate incident gave credence to the need for massive socioeconomic interventions meant to hasten economic growth of impoverished areas in rebel strongholds while the government and the MILF are trying to thresh out lasting solutions to the Moro issue.

Civilians killed and injured in the hostilities were the main “collateral damage” in the conflict, she added.

Hataman urged residents not to entertain rumors and spread speculations on the security situation in their surroundings.

“Among the best sources of assessments on the real situation on the ground are the government and MILF panels, the local officials, the ARMM government and the joint GPH-MILF ceasefire committee,” he said.

“Even the MILF commanders in Mamasapano are cooperating in resolving the incident peacefully, so let’s stay calm,” he added. 

He had instructed ARMM education officials to immediately initiate the resumption of classes in 13 affected schools, Hataman said.

More than 6,000 high school and elementary students were forced to stay home after the fighting.   

 

A MAGUINDANAON ACCOMPANYING ROSALES AL-HAJ MURAD EMBRAHIM AND PRESIDENT AQUINO BADRUDIN LANGALAN BARANGAY TUKANALIPAO BARANGAYS TUKANALIPAO CHAIRMAN ETTA ROSALES OF THE COMMISSION HATAMAN HUMAN RIGHTS MILF
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with