A statement by Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy
September 19, 2018
The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, a Muslim think tank based in the University of the Philippines, is urging the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary of National Defense, and the Armed Forces Chief of Staff to form a committee that would look into the deaths of seven young men in Sulu and recent bombings in several parts of Mindanao.
PCID is also calling for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to review the current implementation of Martial law in Mindanao and investigate reported human rights violations not just in Sulu but in other parts of Mindanao.
Rasul says government and stakeholders should act proactively now and establish a national plan that addresses violent extremism, bearing in mind potential problems with the implementation of martial law.
Information indicate that ISIS intends to form a big group composed of remnants of the Maute Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a break-away group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) while taking advantage of situations like the Sulu killings.
PCID is proposing a gathering of stakeholders with the AFP-SND, to create a plan that aims to further improve coordination and relationships of assigned troops in the region and those from the religious and the communities.
Findings show that most deaths in Mindanao are caused by several factors, among them, the absence of coordination by the military with community leaders, miscommunication or lack of information from AFP units operating in the area.
Last Saturday, the AFP reported the deaths of seven young men in Sulu. Based on reports, the AFP tagged these teenagers as “terrorists” which run counter with testimonies of members of the community. Information gathered show that the youngsters were evacuees from a community in Patikul who fled the area due to intense military operation against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).