30 November 2009
MEMO TO: THE ATENEO COMMUNITY
RE: A CALL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE IN MAGUINDANAO
No amount of words can capture the sentiments of people who are following the events surrounding the carnage in Maguindanao Province last 23 November. The massacre claimed the lives of at least 57 women, journalists, lawyers and passersby including children. On behalf of the Ateneo community, I join the denunciation of groups and institutions, communities and individuals, and people of goodwill in regard to the shameless and senseless killing of innocent lives.
We are one with the families of victims whose sense of loss runs so deep. Women were sent to the Provincial Capitol to file the candidacy of Mangudadatu clan members to deter violence, but they were ruthlessly abused and killed. We pray for the souls of the victims even as we pray for the bereaved families, relatives and friends.
We support fully the initiatives of the family of Datu Ismail Mangudadatu to pursue justice using our existing legal process and reject any form of violence that will simply escalate the conflict further.
We demand the government, law enforcers and authorities, without fear or favor, to conduct speedily a thorough investigation to ferret out the truth and bring the culprits to the rule of law so that justice may be served.
We demand from the government full protection of witnesses and their families so that they will freely come out to reveal the facts of the killing.
We demand our national and local government leadership to curb the proliferation of firearms and explosives in conflict-laden areas in Mindanao and other parts of the country to ensure security and peace especially in the run-up to the 2010 elections.
We ask the COMELEC to review its electoral procedures to ensure peaceful, credible and fair conduct of the 2010 elections. We lament the transfer of COMELEC satellite office from a safe and secure area in Cotabato City to the Provincial Capitol in Maguindanao area controlled by incumbent public officials.
We ask our people of different faiths and cultures, our Ateneo community to pray for peace, justice and security in our land, to find ways of understanding the nature of conflict, and to pursue the path of peace with persistent resolve, and make Mindanao truly our homeland free from poverty, conflict and marginalization.
In this week of peace, we are being invited to appropriate our theme: “Think Mindanao. Feel Mindanao. Bring Peace to Mindanao.” Let us make our own little contribution to make this theme a reality.
As we begin celebrating our fiesta, let us first and foremost turn to prayer. Let us beg our Blessed Mother, the Immaculate Conception, to pray for and with us.
For our reflection and action.
Antonio F Moreno SJ
Memo: 09-10: 39