“We call on President Duterte, as the Commander-in-Chief, to immediately halt the airstrikes and double-time its evacuation efforts to save the Marawi people from carnage. We urge all peace-loving and freedom-fighting Filipinos to unite against the terrorist groups connected with US-CIA-created ISIS, and resist military take-over of Mindanao.”
This was the message of Migrante International as Pinoys abroad hold a “Global Day of Action for Peace in Mindanao” in response to the escalating conflict in Marawi and heightened military operations in the rest of Mindanao after the declaration of Martial Law on May 23. Local authorities stated that sixteen civilians have been killed, but Marawi city citizens reported that hundreds are possibly dead and thousands are still trapped in gunfights.
“Our nation should not fall prey to the ploy of foreign powers to wreak terror and division to advance their economic and political interests, similar to what they are staging in Syria, Venezuela and other countries where its people are asserting their independence and democratic rights,” said Arman Hernando, spokesperson of Migrante.
Migrant groups and Filipino communities in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia and North America held various forms of actions to air their solidarity and concern for their fellow Filipinos in their homeland.
GLOBAL DAY ACTION OF OFWs AGAINST MARTIAL LAW
“Malayo man sa bansang Pilipinas, hindi maalis ang aming pangamba para sa seguridad ng ating mga kababayan na naaapektuhan ng nagaganap na palitan ng putukan sa paggitan ng Maute group at militar. Mahigpit kaming nakikiisa hindi lamang sa mga taga-Mindanao bagkus ay sa lahat ng Pilipino saan mang sulok ng Pilipinas at sa buong mundo dahil ngayon mas kinakailangan ang pagbubuklod-buklod at hindi ang pagkakahati-hati,” plead the group Nagkakaisang Pilipino sa Pransya in a statement.
Overseas Filipino organizations also called on the Philippine government to immediately lift Proclamation No. 216 declaring a state of martial law in Mindanao, and resume the peace negotiations with groups addressing the roots of economic strife and armed conflict in the Philippines like the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
In the USA, Filipino church leaders, students and social justice activists rallied in front of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco to condemn the declaration. “We appeal to President Duterte to lift the martial law in Mindanao and urge him to refrain from extending martial law to the entire Philippines. We believe that this militarist approach will not resolve the problem, but instead will put more lives in danger and further aggravate the insecurity in the area,” said Terry Valen, President of the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
NAFCON also launched a campaign calling for donations for conflict-afflicted communities in Marawi and Mindanao.
In Australia, the Filipino community in New South Wales marched during the Blacktown City Festival and performed “Singkil for Peace in Mindanao” in solidarity with the people of Marawi.
In Europe, OFW groups lead by Fr. Herbert Fadriquela Jr., Anglican Chaplain of the Filipino Community of the Diocese of Liecester in the United Kingdom, expressed alarm on the declaration of martial law and suspension of the ongoing peace negotiations.
“Under military rule, the just and lasting peace we aspire for shall recede farther away, more human rights abuses and violence would reign in our land,” decried Fr. Fadriquela of Migrante Europe.
Migrante asserted that “an iron fist policy is not the solution to the deeply-rooted problems in Philippine society such as poverty, violence and lawlessness. These problems should be addressed comprehensively by the government while pursuing peace talks towards achieving just and lasting peace.” ###