Corinna Broeckmann on Thu, 8 Jun 2000 00:52:46 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> [isgn] Sign for Peace in Mindanao

Dear Friends,

For almost a month now, the southern Philippine island of Mindanao
has been hogging both local and international news because of a
hostage-taking incident involving 19 foreign nationals by an armed
Muslim group called Abbu Sayaff.  The Philippine government is
employing a  military solution Iprimarily) then later on entered into
negotiations for the release of the hostages.  But not only is the
Abbu Sayaff the target of large-scale military operations in Mindanao
now.  More than this, the government has utilized the opportunity to
launch an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) which has long been struggling for genuine self-determination.

The war has resulted in enormous social, environmental cost
victimizing mostly poor farmers, indigenous peoples, women and

We urge all peace advocates, progressives, social movements, people's
organizations from around the globe to join the clamor for a stop to
war in Mindanao and for the pursuit of genuine peace initiatives.

Below is a petition paper initiated by concerned groups in the
Philippines.  Help us collect as many as a million signatures to
press the government to go back to the negotiating table.  Please
feel free to add your name to the list and to distribute it to your
friends.  Kindly send your reply to this address and to
< >.

In Solidarity,

Alice Raymundo

(Apologies for cross posting.)
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A Million Signatures to Stop the War in Mindanao

Stop the Estrada Regime's All-Out War in Mindanao
Support the Initiatives for the Resumption of Peace Negotiations
Respect the Moro People's Right to Self-Determination

We, the undersigned members of different social movements, NGOs,
church groups, human rights and other civic organizations and
concerned individuals, put forward our position regarding the war
that has been raging on in Mindanao, Philippines.

     We condemn the Estrada government's all-out war against the Moro
people. It is deplorable that a government could spend millions daily
in a war that has resulted in hundreds of casualties, dislocated
thousands of rural communities and left scores orphaned and widowed
while it refuses to provide people even their barest needs and social
services such as education and health.

     Neither can the government justify the war in the pretext of
pursuing some groups of fully armed hostage-takers.  It cannot be
used as a smokescreen to blur the real target: the Moro people's
struggle for self-determination, now represented by the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF).

     We cannot hope to achieve a lasting peace in Mindanao through a
military solution. Months of war and the claimed decisive victory by
the Estrada administration is nowhere in sight.  It has in fact
suffered more casualties and incurred huge losses in terms of
commerce and trade. And even if the government does achieve temporary
victory given its current military superiority, it cannot annihilate
the Moro people's aspiration for genuine independence.

     The situation in Mindanao once more highlights the need to
comprehensively address the root causes that has fuelled rebellion in
the Southern Philippines for several ages now.  The Moro people have
suffered more than enough oppression and exploitation from foreign
and local elites who themselves control the national government and
who have systematically disenfranchised the Moros from control of
their lands and other resources, whipped up the Christian-Muslim
divide and used military might to crush resistance.

     Given the bias and injustices experienced by the Moro people
from all the previous governments and its long history of
independence from any colonization, the struggle for self-
determination becomes a just struggle.  The same is true under the
current government not only for the Moro people but the majority of
the Filipinos in general. Thus, we enjoin our Muslim brothers and
sisters to link arms with the rest of the Filipino people in a common
struggle against local and foreign oppressors, now politically
represented by the Estrada regime.

     A genuine peace process is a most welcome move at this time.
But for it to prosper, it should be premised on the recognition and
respect for the justness and legitimacy of the Moro people's
for self-determination.  Otherwise, peace will remain as elusive.

     We thus call on the Estrada government to pull out all AFP
troops and stop the all-out war in Mindanao right now and immediately
pursue a political negotiation towards a lasting and genuine solution
to the Mindanao conflict.

Partial List of Signatories
(in the Philippines and abroad)

1.  Dr. Rainer Werning, M.A., Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Stiftung fuer Kinder, Freiburg (Germany) &
    Vice President
    International Forum for
    Child Welfare (IFCW * Geneva/Brussels)
2.  Muslimah Resource & Integrated Development Center Inc. (MURID
Center Inc.
3.  Bangsa Moro Consortium of NGOs/POs
4.  PAKAPASUG (Parhimpunan sin Kababaihan Pakasambuhan Sin Lupah Sug
5.  Prof. Eric Torres - Polytechnic University of the Philippines-
Human Rights Office
6.  Prof. Flora Arellano - Ploytechnic University of the Philippines -
 Human Rights Office
7.  Institute for Urban and Rural Development (INSURED)
8.  Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF)
9.  International South Group Network (ISGN)  Manila
10. Liga ng Sosyalistang Kabataan (League of Socialist Youth)
11. People's Unity for Economic Reforms and Social Agenda (PUERSA)
12. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
13. Piglas Kababaihan
14. Resource Center for People's Development (RCPD)
15. Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa
16. Susan Granada
17. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
18  Ditas Go-Zurbano - Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families
and Communites
19.  Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
20.  Piglas-Maralita
21. Corinna Broeckmann, Aachen, Germany

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