August 21, 2008
Muslim, Christian students hold Sandugo to manifest unity;
lambast the GRP-MILF MOA as a smokescreen for Arroyo's Cha-Cha
QUEZON CITY – Amidst the escalation of conflict between the GRP and
the MILF in Mindanao, Muslim and Christian students from the
University of the Philippines Diliman converge to condemn the Arroyo
regime's machinations for pushing Charter Change and eventually
retaining itself in power.
In a protest action spearheaded by
the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP
(STAND-UP) here today, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) hold a Sandugo
(blood compact) to express their unity albeit the standing turmoil in
Mindanao. The aforesaid student formations also stand with the
Bangsamoro people's struggle for their right to self-determination and
"The Bangsamoro people, alongside
their Lumad and Christian counterparts, have long been suffering from
Arroyo's schemes to ensure her political survival," STAND-UP deputy
secretary-general Fudge Tajar states. "It is already apparent that the
Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between her regime and the
MILF is no more than a smokescreen for Charter Change. Cha-Cha shall
ostensibly commence the shift to federalism to accommodate the demands
of the Bangsamoro people's call for autonomy, but it shall only help
perpetuate the Arroyo regime in power further than 2010."
"Mindanao cannot achieve genuine
peace and autonomy under the US-Arroyo regime. The tally of human
violations committed by government forces against the Bangsamoro
people and Arroyo's manipulation of anti-Moro hysteria are but
testaments to the government's insincerity in granting the Muslims the
community they envision," Tajar says.
Further, the students lambast the
Arroyo regime for pitting the Bangsamoro and the Christian people
against each other as yet another diversionary tactic to obscure the
intensifying cries for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's ouster.
Tajar states, "We, mga Iskolar ng
Bayan, will never condone the atrocities Arroyo and her cohorts
have committed against the people. While we unite with the Bangsamoro
people's quest for genuine autonomy and peace, we also seek Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo's ouster as instrumental to ending both the
Bangsamoro people and the Filipino people's plight." ###
Student Alliance for the
Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP)
University of the Philippines Diliman,
August 20, 2008
Anti-chacha student walkouts to mark Truth Fest rally
Minda conflict not a pretext for martial rule – youth groups
Member organizations of Youth ACT Now! (Youth for Accountability and
Truth Now!) held a press conference at St. Scholastica College in Manila
today to announce participation in the August 22 Truth Festival rally.
Youth organizations National Union of Students of the Philippines
(NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student
Christian Movement (SCM), Kabataang Pinoy, Anakbayan, League of Filipino
Students (LFS), KARATULA, Liga ng Kabataang Moro, Youth Revolt and
Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan announced that they would lead
walkout protests on August 22 to mark the youth's opposition against the
Arroyo administration's moves to revise the Constitution.
Students from the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University
of the Philippines, De La Salle University, College of St. Benilde, St.
Scholastica, Ateneo, University of the East, University of Sto. Tomas,
Far Eastern University, Adamson, Philippine Christian University,
Lyceum, Letran, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Philippine Normal
University, Jose Rizal University, Technological Institute of the
Philippines and some public high schools around Metro Manila all
announced participation in the rally.
Students from the said schools are expected to hold simultaneous
programs in their campuses before converging by noon of August 22 for a
unified march towards the rally venue in Roxas Boulevard.
Youth ACT Now! Spokesperson and NUSP president Alvin Peters said that
youth and students are opposed to charter change 'because it would allow
the extension of a corrupt, treacherous and unrepentant regime.'
SCM chairperson Biyaya Quizon condemned the Arroyo administration's
'posturing for peace when clearly it has more sinister and divisive
tactics in mind. We strongly condemn the senseless killings of civilians
in Mindanao but we maintain that none other than the Arroyo
administration is to blame for the intensifying conflict with our Moro
For his part, CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola said, "We warn
Mrs. Arroyo against using the present Mindanao conflict as a pretext for
martial rule. We call on our fellow youth to be ever vigilant against
attempts to attack our freedoms and civil liberties." Metro Manila has
been reportedly placed under 'red alert' as of last night.
Meanwhile, LFS chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said that Arroyo's 'game
plan and scenario-building' are becoming more obvious by the minute.
"First, charter change. Then probably having anticipated strong
opposition to cha-cha, Arroyo and her militarist-thinking advisers now
seem to be inclined towards using the Mindanao conflict to sow an
atmosphere of panic and chaos even in Manila and other regions."
"Either way you look at it, cha-cha or martial rule, both serve Arroyo's
motives to prolong power and evade accountability for the numerous
unresolved cases of corruption and human rights violations," said
Kabataang Pinoy president Dion Cerrafon.
Anakbayan chairperson Ken Ramos said, "Instead of self-serving schemes,
Mrs. Arroyo should address the present economic crisis burdening the
people. Last we checked oil prices are still at record-high levels, the
lines at NFA retail shops are not getting any shorter and the government
is earning more windfalls via the VAT at the expense of our poor
Youth ACT Now! announced that walkouts and protest actions against
charter change are set in different schools and communities nationwide
on August 22. ###
Sarah Katrina Maramag, 09193486790
Initiatives for Peace in
August 19, 2008
Stop all-out war offensives, resume the talks, uphold international
We in the Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace Mindanao) call on
the government not to resort to all all-out offensives in Central and
Northern Mindanao in response to alleged MILF attacks. We urge both
the GRP and the MILF to give primacy to the peace process in order to
resolve issues aggravated by Arroyo's scurrying of the Memorandum of
Agreement on Ancestral Domain.
While we condemn the violations to international humanitarian law that
led to the deaths, displacements, and trauma among Moro and non-Moro
civilians, we assert that Arroyo is culpable for causing these actions
as principal by instigation. Clearly, it is Arroyo's botching of the
MOA-AD, her stirring of anti-Moro chauvinism, and her duplicity of
intentions in the peace negotiations that had led to this chain of
events in Mindanao.
We call for the immediate indemnification, restitution and
rehabilitation of civilians victimized and displaced by IHL
violations. These attacks should be investigated in accordance to
GRP-MILF agreements regarding hostilities, and should be dealt with
according to their separate judicial and administrative processes.
The role of international
agencies like the United Nations,
International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International
Monitoring Team is likewise being demanded by the situation. We also
urge both parties to allow non-government organizations and churches
to make their independent fact-finding missions into the affected
areas and allow humanitarian intervention to benefit the evacuees,
victims, and survivors.
We call on the government to stop its drumbeating for war so that
confidence-building with the MILF will be restored. The government, if
it is sincere in pursuing peace, should accept their failings in the
peace process and should untangle the present complications caused by
the railroading of its Charter change agenda using the MOA-AD.
We warn the Arroyo government against using the violence in Mindanao
as justification for the imposition of emergency powers. It had done
this in the past by establishing units of the AFP in Mindanao's urban
centers after the twin bombings in Davao in 2003 which it blamed on
Only social justice can solve a social problem, not calls for war in
Mindanao aired by Arroyo, by the warhawks of Malacanang and by those
in the other corridors of power in Mindanao.#