One of the hottest media topics in the recent months is the Bangsamoro Law, the Mamasapano Encounter and its aftermath and implications. It is a topic I have not written on because frankly, I am not that well-versed politically and I don’t consider myself competent enough to make a fair commentary on the issue.
Today, I would like to talk about it, but not to give my opinion on whether government should push through with the Law or not. What I say about it won’t really matter anyway as I have no real political influence. Rather today is about me taking a break from my usual armchair discussions and talk about something concrete that we can do as common people to help those in need. In a past freethinkers meetup, someone asked, “Are we just going to spend all our time thinking and discussing? Then all we are doing is intellectual masturbation. What about actually DOING something?”
In our meetup last March 28, 2015, our guest speaker was Ms. Bai Ali Indayla of Kawagib, a Moro Human Rights Organization. She was kind enough to share her experience of the current situation in Central Mindanao, as well as her experience and “war stories” growing up in Maguindanao. What struck me most was that at this very moment, thousands of real people (our fellow Mindanaowons, fellow Filipinos, and fellow humans) are suffering while our lawmakers are sitting comfortably in their plush chairs debating on whether to mount an all-out war or not, and while millions of us facebook warriors are busy updating our walls with calls for peace or war, or making fun of Pnoy, or debating whether that dress is white or blue.
Perhaps it is time for us to take a break from making a lot of noise and actually do something that matters, like volunteering to help or digging into that wallet and donating P100 instead of spending it on that cold Mocha Frap. For those who want to help, but don’t know exactly how, I am reproducing below a solicitation letter asking for volunteers or assistance in cash or kind for a peacekeeping mission in Central Mindanao this coming April 16-18, 2015 by the The People’s Council for National Unity, Reform and Peace Convenors (PCNURP):
Despite announcement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that its All-out offensives ended on March 30, its troops in areas of Central Mindanao has continued its military operation. The All-out offensives since February 25 has disrupted the lives of over 125,000 individuals who were forced to stay in makeshift tents as evacuation centers, some in schools and home based evacuees. The humanitarian crisis now happening is manifested by deaths of elderly women and a child due to dehydration and disease as a result of congestion in evacuation center, poor health and sanitation condition and scarcity of food they are experiencing. These were all reported by evacuees and documented during the Peace and Humanitarian Mission organized by People’s Council for National Unity, Reforms and Peace (PCNURP) on March 10-13 in Shariff Aguak and Datu Saudi, Maguindanao.
Peace and Humanitarian Mission on March 10-13 in Maguindanao has four components: Medical, Relief, Psychosocial Intervention and Documentation which served around 600 beneficiaries for Relief goods distribution, around 200 patients (medical mission) and children in evacuation centers. It was also concluded during the mission that evacuees get only minimal assistance not enough for their daily needs as they’ve been displaced for already more than a month.
Another round of Peace and Humanitarian Mission or PHM 2 will be launched coming April 16-18 in Maguindanao area to response to the call of evacuees for help. Our objectives:
- Provide immediate food, medical, and psychosocial aid to the evacuees;
- Gather information to the extent of damage of war;
- Present the current situation in Central Mindanao for public information, and;
- Call for an end to the indiscriminate militarization in Central Mindanao.
Hence, we invite you to join our mission and solicit any amount or in kind donations for the evacuees. We know that you share this concern for human rights and peace with us.
For inquiries and confirmation, please contact the Mission secretariat, Althea Amoguis at mobile number 0946-8664307 or Bai Ali Indayla at 0946-9640794 and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.