The interfaith group Moro-Christian Peoples Alliance (MCPA) is one with the nation in condemning the bombing in a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu which killed 20 and injured many others. As people of faith, there is no justification for this inhumane act, an affront to our collective belief of respect for our faiths, lives and rights of our people.
It is difficult to pin the bombing to mere acts of vengeance to the outcome of the plebiscite. While the plebiscite tested the unity of the Moro people, and in general the Moro and Christians in Mindanao, we are all one achieving peace in Mindanao.
We must look more into the consequences of the recent bombing – strengthen martial rule in Mindanao, deploying more troops in the Moro community and justify bombing of our communities to flush out the supposed perpetrators. We must question what Martial Law imposes to the public, that it is needed to stop the bombing when for 18 months of Martial Law bombs of crude and sophisticated materiel are exploding in Moro areas that are secured by thousands of military and police. We cannot help but also think how the bombing will boost the national government and the military’s argument that the revised Human Security Act should immediately be passed by Congress and Senate to curb terrorism yet provisions target more on criminalizing collective rights to public assembly and other civil and political rights.
In the end, responsibility lies in President Rodrigo Duterte and his military for continuing to impose fear to the public through imposition of Martial Law and force its hand in what should have been a choice for the Moro people to make – not only by deploying more than 20,000 AFP and police to “secure” the polls, stories of vote buying and massive cheating abound during the recently concluded plebiscite. Responsibility lies with them for breeding disunity and suspicion among the Moro people and the Muslims and Christians in general.