In the fragile peace and order situation of Mindanao, Zamboanga City has, time and time again, been a victim of bombings and acts of terrorism. The attack of September 9 is no different: inhumane, un-Islamic, and motivated by fanaticism and selfish intent.
Reports have shown that innocent civilians were injured, taken hostage, or killed; communities were gripped by terror, asphyxiated by this seemingly unending war, battling the same monster with many names. Reports of civilians used as human shields add to the cowardliness of their attack and the dubious nature of their intent.
This attack in Zamboanga City shows the utmost disregard for civility and the processes of peace and dialogue, which a democratic country upholds as the bedrock of its nationhood.
Based on initial information, “deliberate misinformation” has been sown on different groups. This led to confusion, panic, and death of civilians, and combatants both on the side of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and our government authorities.
We strongly believe that no political cause ever justifies such immoral, evil, and cowardly acts against our own sisters and brothers. We must be constantly reminded that the Holy Qur’an denounces killing a human being and equates the slaying of one human life to that of genocide against the entirety of mankind.
Chapter 5:32 says, “If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”
The Christian Gospel also condemns violence: “Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath…'” (John 18:11).
We call on the different sectors, especially the Moro National Liberation Front, to condemn these attacks of terror and help the government authorities to discipline their ranks.
We call on the National Government to respect human rights and REFRAIN from any form of “witch hunting.” Observe the due process for all Muslim civilians. This desperate act of terror-tainted adventurism does not justify discrimination againt any Muslim Filipinos in our country.
We reiterate our support for the on-going peace talks and call on other institutions to show their support for this. Now, make lasting peace a reality for the Filipinos in the South. We are hopeful that this Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro will benefit the people of Mindanao.
We call on dissidents to come to the table of dialogue and work together with the GPH and other groups in cementing the road to lasting peace. For the recent violence – the attack in Zamboanga City and the series of bombings last August – aimed at derailing the peace process, will only lead to an unending cycle of violence. Stop the rule of armed intimidation. If every movement of dissent were settled by the gun, Mindanao would only be emptied of people.
We echo the truth of a passage in the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms;” here, the Viceroy Sun Trang said: “There are no victors in war, only survivors and casualties”.