Hataman draws attention to civilian casualties of Mamasapano encounter, calls for peace based on truth and justice
Cotabato City – Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) drew attention today to civilian casualties of the 25 January incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao as he joined other officials and employees of the region in calling for peace that is based on truth and justice.
Hataman said the public seems to forget that aside from the 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) and 9 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants killed, the encounter has also taken a toll on residents in the area with four of them dead, six injured and thousands displaced.
In a flag raising ceremony today, the ARMM governor led hundreds of employees and officials, who all wore black shirts, in a brief solidarity program marked by the releasing of white and blue balloons to urge that is no peace without justice and no justice without truth.
Hataman said that war is not the solution to achieve peace in Mindanao. “Ang aking panawagan ay katarungan para sa lahat lalung-lalo na sa mga inosenteng mamamayan na walang kamuwang-muwang sa insidenteng ito. Kailanman hindi solusyon ang giyera.”
He had earlier called for calm and sobriety as authorities investigate the unfortunate and violent incident.
“Paghihiganti ang tawag kung ikaw ay nananawagan ng katarungan na hindi nakabatay sa katotohanan. Alamin muna natin ang katotohanan bago tayo manghusga. Hindi kapayapaan ang tawag kung hindi ito nakabatay sa katarungan,” he said.
Four civilians, including a five-year old girl, were killed in the encounter while six others were injured. More than 6,000 residents in six barangays in the municipality have also been forced to flee their homes, and classes in 13 schools have to be suspended, affecting more than 6,000 students.
In a press conference, ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia said P10,000 financial assistance were given to each of the six residents who were injured in the clash and P25,000 to each of the families of the four who died.
ARMM also provided a total of 932 relief goods to the displaced families.
Mamasapano Mayor Tahirodin Benzar Ampatuan expressed his gratitude to the working government of ARMM for the support. “Nagpapapasalamat kami dahil kahit papaano ay nalunasanan ang paghihirap ng mga tao especially yung mga affected na residente.”
Ramil Masukat, director of the region’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said that immediately after the incident, the agency assisted in the retrieval of the cadavers and is now focusing on distributing food and non-food items to the evacuees.
“Katulong ang DSWD, isa sa mga susunod na suggestion ang stress debriefing,” he said. (Bureau of Public Information)