Hataman, CHR chief visit site of Mamasapano encounter
COTABATO CITY (05 February 2015) – Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales inspected the site of the deadly encounter between the elite police force and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters in Baranagay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindano, on Wednesday.
“The on-site inspection is an opportunity for us to know what happened last January 25,” Hataman said.
The encounter left 44 police Special Action Force (SAF), 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and 5 civilians dead, including a five-year old girl.
More than 1,000 families in the area have also been displaced and classes in at least 13 schools, with more than 6,000 schoolchildren, have to be suspended.
Rosales urged ARMM officials to help shed light on the incident and look after the welfare of residents in the area, who are mostly farmers.
She described the disruption in the livelihood of locals as tragic. The site of the clash is a cornfield and its owner had to harvest what was left of the crops.
Moreover, Hataman personally talked to the families of the civilians killed in the gunfight to express his condolences and hand over financial assistance during the visit.
Sarah Langalan, 20 and mother of two, lost her husband Badruddin. She said he was on his way to another house to charge his phone when the fighting broke out.
“We are thankful to ARMM (government) for the assistance. This will at least help us with our daily expenses now that my husband is dead,” she said.
Both Hataman and Rosales urged the government and the MILF to push on with the peace process as durable solution to the conflicts in Mindanao.
“May mga panahong, sa isang banda ay lumaban din ako sa diktatorya, nakulong at natorture kaya alam ko ano ang ibig sabihin ng lumaban sa kalayaan, kapayapaan at hustisya, kaya sa MILF, para sa akin, muling ibuhay natin ang negosasyon sa kapayapaan,” Rosales said.
Meanwhile, the ARMM government is organizing a barefoot walk on Friday in different parts of the region to amplify the call for peace and denounce violence.
Hataman said the activity, which carries the theme “Ituloy ang lakad, don’t give up on peace”, aims to magnify the call an end to the needless loss of lives and displacement of thousands of families in Mindanao due to armed conflicts. (Bureau of Public Information)