THE DEAFENING SOUND OF GUNS FIRING ... AT OUR HOPES AND DREAMS

A Statement by the Young Moro Professionals Network Inc.
 (Reposted, from the YMPN_West.Min FB Group Page, dated November 10, 2011)


What happens when you fight fire with fire? 

The Young Moro Professionals Network Inc., a group of young leaders who present positive contributions of Muslims in society, would like to register its strong rejection to an all-out-war policy in Mindanao. We appeal to the public for sobriety, let us always choose peace in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country.

We also appeal to our friends in the media to be more responsible. We loathe irresponsible and sensationalized media reports. Are media people already developing bias towards violence? Let us remind our friends in the media that there is such thing as ‘Peace Journalism’. May we propose that instead of overvaluing violence in television, radio, internet and newspapers, let us look at non-violent alternatives in delivering news items.

Certainly, war will never solve any problem in Mindanao. It only aggravates the situation adding economic and social outlay. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as of October 28, a total of 5,699 families or 28,547 individuals in 33 barangays (23 in Alicia, Mabuhay, Olutanga, Payao and Talusan all in Zamboanga Sibugay and 10 in Albarka, Basilan) have been displaced. 

Wars and its effects are detrimental especially to the future of the youth in Mindanao. Further, it robs us of any progress we have made in seeking lasting peace in Mindanao.

To cite one, a World Bank report in 2005, states that although the indirect economic costs and the social damage from the conflict cannot be quantified with any precision, they certainly dwarf the $2–3 billion in direct economic costs. 

The report also highlights that the conflict in Mindanao had already brought an estimated 120,000 deaths and uncounted numbers of wounded and disabled, and a displacement of more than two million people, of whom almost half in 2000 alone, during President Estrada’s “all-out-war”. Now, the strategy of bombing Zamboanga and Basilan is affecting innocent families who are now displaced and are in need of immediate assistance to be able to survive.

We grieve with the families of all victims and join them in calling for justice. However, we want the Government to clarify on its "all out justice" campaign; define its parameters since there are innocent people being adversely affected. We pray that any action, military operations especially, towards seeking justice should never trample basic human rights. There are mechanisms in the peace process to address issues of justice. Let us uphold these for there is indeed much to address. Reports of human rights violations and persecution of political prisoners abound.

Lastly, we plead that both the government and MILF panels would always view the peace negotiations as the only resort to this crisis; uphold the peace process for both parties to continue to talk formally and continuously. They should stay the course for a peace agreement and we are also calling both parties to honor and continue local peace mechanisms i.e. ceasefire agreement. As the lead professional organization of Moros worldwide, we YMPN in the tradition of its proactive in bridging divides, call for sustained methods of peace-building and seeking justice. We reiterate the need for collective support from the whole Filipino Society to ending misunderstanding and securing lasting peace in Mindanao. 

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The Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) composed of young Moro professionals advocating peaceful means to improve the socio-economic well-being of the Bangsamoro people. While a majority of members live in the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila and Mindanao, there are several members who are based in other countries. YMPN members are largely employed, both in government and private sector jobs.

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