Observing Ramadhan, Islam community hits military operations in Mindanao

BAGUIO CITY — Muslim residents here expressed their concern over the continued military operations in the south directed at the immediate capture of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Commanders “Umbra Kato” and “Bravo” despite the observance of the holy month of Ramadhan.

RAMADHAN PRAYER. Muslims in Baguio City are one in prayer for lasting peace in their homeland Mindanao. Photo by Cye Reyes/NORDIS

Jamal who did not give his full name, a Muslim trader here, said the government’s continued military operations in Mindanao during Ramadhan is a bastardization of Islam.

“Ramadhan is our most sacred and holy month, it is disrespectful of the government not to declare a total ceasefire,” said Jamal. He said the sentiments of the people especially the Muslims would be diverted to anger against the government.

Abdulwahab Lacsaman, a teacher in the Almaarif Educational Center, along Roman Ayson Road was adamant that the government should respect this very important Islamic practice.

Under the Islamic lunar calendar, the month of Ramadhan is from September 1 to September 30, this year.

Meanwhile, Office on Muslim Affairs-Cordillera Administrative Region (OMA-CAR) Director Abdullah S. Macarimpas said the military should observe protocols in their conduct of military operations not just in Mindanao but in any place in the country.

“No civilian should be affected in their operations and the government troops should respect everyone’s human rights,” said Macarimpas.

He was also firm on his opinion that the government is waging an all-out-peace operations and not an all-out-war in Mindanao.

“The president is not waging war but peace against lawless forces such as the MILF,” he added.

The conflict between the MILF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) started when the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the MILF and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

The collapse of the MOA

According to Macarimpas part of the MOA is unconstitutional mainly because of the process it underwent.

“Not all people concerned were consulted about it. Even Malacañang admitted it did not have a copy of the MOA,” he said.

He also stressed that the negotiations between the MILF and the GRP has been going on for a long time. If certain sectors were not consulted it is a fault of government and not the MILF.

In a statement the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) released August 26, it said the MOA, “while recognizing on paper the Moro people’s right to self-determination, in particular their right to their ancestral domain, was calculated to flounder and fail in the face of legal challenges and the unfounded outcry that it would dismember the Philippine Republic.”

According to Bayan, the present administration under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not sincere at resolving the primary issues connected with the armed conflict with MILF, which includes the Moro’s right to a homeland and self-determination.

“Opportunistically, the Arroyo clique wished to take advantage of the situation that the MOA would precisely entail constitutional revision, in order to open the doors wide open to its bid for term extension via charter change,” the statement further said.

Meanwhile, Baguio Muslims are in prayer for peace for their homeland Mindanao as they observe this year’s holy month of Ramadhan. # Cye Reyes(NorDis)

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