The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao joins the international call for governments to show compassion and humanity to the Rohingya people who have fled Burma in the face of massive persecution and human rights abuse.
As they are trapped at sea and are desperate for help, their sufferings exacerbated by the refusal of other countries to welcome them and provide them with refuge, we must offer them a glimmer of hope for a bright future and a peaceful life.
The plight of the Rohingya people reminds us of the plight of our very own Muslim brothers and sisters who were driven away from Sabah, the Halaws, who had to flee in the midst of fear and uncertainty, back to the Philippines.
This displacement also touches a sensitive chord in the life and history of Mindanao Muslims who suffered harrowing episodes of evacuations because of violence.
As Muslims, we are concerned about how women and children are facing this perilous journey to freedom, only to find an ocean of uncertainty and crushing indifference from the world outside Burma.
These people have seen too much violence and hostility. They deserve, more than ever, our sympathy and kindness.
This is why we of the regional government, as we reiterate our support and solidarity with them, our Rohingya brothers and sisters, express our willingness to host them in the ARMM. We believe that even with the current conditions on the ground, even with our own experience of migration and internal displacement, there is always room enough for us to show our hospitality and care for them.
We commend the Aquino administration for expressing its willingness to provide for the welfare of the Rohingya people.
We applaud this gesture of kindness.
This is proof of our country’s readiness to respond to a humanitarian crisis in as humane a manner as possible.