Thousands of marchers in Mindanao want a halt

to the US-RP Balikatan Exercises

 


February 18, 2008

 

 

 

5,000 people from Lanao province, Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Caraga participated in Cagayan de Oro phase of the people's march against the holding of the Balikatan Exercises by US and Philippine troops. 15,000 more joined rallies in Cotabato City, Pikit, Davao and General Santos City.
 

Representatives Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna and LIza Maza of Gabriela joined the nuns, Moro and lawyers from the Out Now! Mindanao in the Peoples' March against Balikatan in Cagayan de Oro.

 
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Photos courtesy of Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization
           
           

 

Press Statement
19 February 2008

President Arroyo disregarded people's call

against Balikatan exercises in Mindanao

Despite calls from different sectors to stop Balikatan exercises in Mindanao the joint PR-US military training is scheduled today February 18, 2008 to March 03, 2008 in Sulu, Basilan, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and in North Cotabato.

Arroyo administration disregarded calls from different sectors to stop holding of Balikatan in the country especially in Mindanao and investigate human rights violations committed by US troops.

This only shows how irresponsible and inutile the Arroyo administration as they ignored calls from ordinary citizens. Instead of listening to the sentiments of the people Pres. Arroyo favored Bush government to hold Balikatan in the country to run after the “terrorists”.

The Philippine government and the US officials claim that the presence of US troops in Mindanao is merely to provide assistance to the Philippine army and for “humanitarian and medical” missions for the people Mindanao but what kind of support? Is there an assurance that these troops will not join the actual combat operations?

In 2002, Buyung-Buyung Isnijal was shot allegedly by an American soldier identified by witnesses as a certain Sgt. Reggie Lane , who was accused of participating in a military operation on July 27, 2002 in Tuburan, Basilan.

Also, the shooting and maiming of civilians purportedly by US soldiers who accidentally fired at civilians in the community while on their testing missions. One case was the shooting and wounding of Arsid Baharun in Zamboanga City while soldiers were conducting a marksmanship practice in 2004.

In 2004, Sardiya Abu Calderon, 54-year old died due to heart attack when a helicopter boarding two US soldiers landed into their farm during the clearing operation conducted by the US troops and Filipino soldiers in August 2004 and in September 2006 where shrapnel of a misfired bomb hit the back of a 50-year old mother Bizma Juhan in Indanan, Sulu.

In Zamboanga City , passengers of a tricycle complained in a radio station about US soldiers who accidentally bumped the tricycle they were riding in Calarian village on December 15, 2007. Instead of helping the victims to get up, US soldiers got down from their vehicle complete with high-powered guns that according to the complainants looked like they were going to war.

On 04 February 2008, one of the survivors of the Maimbung, Sulu massacre Rawina Wahid exposed that when the soldiers brought her and her body’s husband Corporal Ibno Wahid to a Philippine Navy boat she saw four (4) US soldiers among the Filipino soldiers inside the boat.

Presence of US troops does not deter to prevent “terrorist threat” in the country instead, attracts terrorism. US operations in Mindanao can be considered as “clandestine act of terrorism”. Through lies and deception, US maintained a “low profile role” in painting chaos in the island to justify its presence.

Kawagib fear the vulnerability of the Moro civilians in areas where Balikatans are held. Previous statements made by US officials on having the right to carry guns and fire at people whom they think will compromise their security absolves them of these crimes.

Kawagib joined protests against balikatan exercises with Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM), Suara Bangsamoro and other progressive organizations calling for immediate pull-out of US troops from the Philippines this morning February 18, 2008 in Cagayan de Oro City, North Cotabato, Cotabato City and Davao City .

The Moro groups are calling for an investigation on cases of human rights violations committed by US troops in Mindanao and justice must serve to the victims .


Sittie Rajabia Sundang
Secretary General
Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organization
c/o Kalinaw Center for Interfaith Resources
Francisco Avenue, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City
Email address: kawagib@yahoo.com
http://www.kawagib.wordpress.com

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Former Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador
     
     
     
     
     
 
           
           

 

News Release
February 17, 2008
 

Grupo at residente ng Pikit, North Cotabato nanawagang iboycot ang missions

Pikit, North Cotabato- Nagpahayag ng matinding pagtutol ang mga residente ng mga barangay dito sa gaganaping Balikatan-Humanitarian Mission ng pinagsamang pwersa ng tropang Pilipino at Amerikano sa ilang Baranggay ng Pikit, North Cotabato.

Ang mga tropa ay nakatakdang magsagawa ng dental mission sa Bagu-inged Elementary School, Barangay Bagu-inged, Barangay Talitay at Barangay Rajamuda sa Pebrero 22. Ang mga barangay na ito ay kilala ring “stronghold” areas ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Kinukuwestyon din ng mga residente ang tunay na intension ng napapabalitang plano ng mga tropang ayusin ang tulay papasok sa Buliok Complex na kinikilalang Islamic Center ng mga mamamayang Muslim sa Pikit, North Cotabato. Ang barangay Buliok din ay may layong 5 kilometro mula sa Liguasan Marsh na may 3 Trillion cubic feet gas deposit.

Ayon kay Mesriya Mamasalagat, convenor ng Out Now Coalition, nagulat na lamang sila ng mamigay ng poster ang mga sundalo ng 7th IB at sabihing may magaganap na medical mission sa kanilang mga Barangay sa susunod na linggo at darating ang mga amerikanong sundalo sa Pebrero 18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaugnay nito, nanawagan ang nasabing grupo na iboycot ang gaganaping medical mission at huwag tanggapin ang anumang tulong na ibibigay ng mga amerikanong sundalo. “Ito ay suhol sa mga bangsamoro para kalimutan na lamnag ang mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao kung saan nasangkot ang ilang tropang kano, katulad na massacre sa sulu” ayon kay Mamasalagat.

Kaugnay din ng Humanitarian mission na nakatakdang gawin sa Marawi City sa lunes, isang grupo ng mga kabataan at kababaihan ang nagsagawa ng protesta sa intersection ng capitol at basak Malulut sa Marawi City ang nambato sa sasakyang lulan ang mga amerikanong sundalo noong Pebrero 15.

Bukas naman ay nakatakdang magsagawa ng sabay-sabay na kilos protesta ang mga mamamayan sa Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Cotabato City, at Pikit North Cotabato bilang pagsalubong sa mga amerikanong sundalo at sa pagsisimula ng mga Balikatan Exercises.
 

 

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