September 11, 2008
Some seven houses of civilians were reportedly burned down by the government forces in Barangay Sambulawan, Datu Piang, Maguindanao last September 9, 2008 at 4pm . Owners hit government soldiers “direct and indirect” involvement in this atrocities.
Makmod, one of the victims, chided on the unabated burning of houses that had took place right before the eyes of the military.
Hundreds of houses had been charred down in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao since the government launched joint police and military actions against the MILF in early August this year.
But these government operations had not been yielding decisive success despite employing excessive forces and incurring big deficits to national coffer.
Now, not less than a hundred thousands of Muslim civilians, to include children and aged, are still staying and severely suffering inside more one hundred evacuation sites and makeshifts along the roads and under the trees.
This poor constituency from this part of the country had long been deprived of government basic services and now what they are getting from the government are bombs and bullets in the wake of brutal indiscriminate ferocious military onslaught.
Cases of various illnesses had been rising and many more will meet their death at evacuation, according to reports of social and health workers.
Displaced communities are afraid to go back to their residences due to absence of security assurance yet the government has not indicated when to stop its operations.
Six civilians were hit and killed by the air strikes of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Barangay Tee, Datu Piang, Maguindanao. Two other civilians were also wounded during the air strikes.
That incident clouded even further the desire of the civilians to go back to their respective communities.
Hundred of farmers in Maguindanao are calling on the government to allow them to go back to their farms to harvest what remains to their produce. But unfortunately, the military had been ignoring the plea. Accordingly, the military are avoiding exposure of the extent of damages on civilian properties and sources of livelihood created by the gruesome government operations.
All concerned institutions, to include international bodies, must immediately look into to the prevailing plight of the civilians in the middle of ongoing military operations particularly in Maguindanao in order to avert occurrence of impending humanitarian crisis.
Media outfits being the “fiscalizers” are urged to document, report and expose the excesses, conduct unbecoming and human rights violations being committed by militaries and government authorities against Muslim communities down south of Philippines.
Certainly, the government is failing, if not the ultimate cause, of the looming humanitarian problem during this blessed month of Ramadhan.