STATEMENT ON MAMASAPANO AND GUIWAN
ATENEO DE ZAMBOANGA UNIVERSITY
February 2, 2015
The Ateneo de Zamboanga University community joins the nation in grief and pain over the killing of 44 PNP-SAF men in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015. We lament their loss. We honor them and their sacrifices for the nation. We reach out to their families and loved ones with deep sympathy. These young men served fearlessly in the Zamboanga Siege of 2013 and in many other dangerous missions. They shall forever be remembered as shining examples of selflessness, obedience, courage, duty, and love for our country. They are our heroes and our nation stands proud and grateful for what they have done.
We denounce the bombing in Guiwan, Zamboanga City on January 23, 2015, which killed two and injured 54 people. We deplore this and other terroristic attempts to disrupt the already difficult recovery of Zamboanga from the 2013 siege. We urge the city government to strengthen and prioritize security and safety measures as imperatives for peace and progress in Zamboanga City.
We share the nation’s anger and anguish over the brutality of the Mamasapano massacre, the unclear command responsibility in the operation, the unexplained breakdown in information and coordination, the suspicious motives of concerned parties, and the many other questions still unanswered by the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
We are frustrated at how leadership has failed these men and our country as a whole.
We unite with the people’s demand for swift accountability and justice. We demand complete transparency in investigation through a joint process by the Government and MILF, strengthened by a third party monitoring group. This process should ferret out the truth with comprehensiveness, courage, and independence from political pressure. Justice for our slain heroes shall begin with this truth. We demand the same swift justice for those who died and were injured by the Guiwan bomb.
We can only honor these lives lost and disrupted by ensuring that justice is done. Without truth, no justice can be done. Without justice, peace cannot prevail.
We believe that peace is the only option in Mindanao. This tragedy has raised doubts concerning the sincerity of parties in the ongoing peace process. Many have started to doubt the feasibility of a peace agreement being forged in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The Mamasapano tragedy has made this option more difficult due to the breakdown of trust and confidence. We call on everyone to recover and guarantee this sincerity, trust, and confidence, even if it means extending timeframes in the BBL process. The progress of the peace process should proceed and should be dictated by this restoration and re-strengthening of trust, and not by politically-determined targets like the 2016 elections.
We call on our people to silence, reflection, and prayer in the midst of pain and indignation. We need, once again, to gather and harness the power of our common struggle and spirit for peace and development. Our religions worship God who is Peace. This spirit of our merciful God will lift us from our sorrow, despair, and anger. It will help us recover and renew, yet again, our choice for peace in Mindanao with stronger resolve, faith, and commitment. We rely on the power that is grounded in our common hope and desire for a peaceful future for our children, transcending all that divide us, in race, religion, and culture. Elusive, fragile, agonizing, and complex as it is, peace in Zamboanga and Mindanao is our mission.
With pride and gratitude, we honor and salute our fallen heroes!
We demand truth and justice for the PNP-SAF men!
We call for cessation of all violence in Zamboanga City and Mindanao!
We renew ourselves in the task of peace, justice, and development!