STATEMENT of Support for Social Justice and for Marawi
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We, the women of Mindanao and Sulu coming from varied social, cultural, economic and political backgrounds and of differently-positioned vantages have gathered on March 11 – 13, 2018 in Davao City to harness our voices and speak as one of our unrelenting cry for social justice in our ancestral territories and homelands, and reiterate our full support for the reconstruction of Dansalan (Marawi) and the immediate return to normalization of lives of its more than 77,000 displaced families and inhabitants.
On Marawi Reconstruction and Governance
WE support the call of our sisters in Marawi for a more IDP-centered, culture and faith-sensitive, inclusive, accountable and peace-enabling Marawi rehabilitation. Specifically, we call for:
The full participation of IDP civilians in the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi; and ensuring their free, prior and informed consent in any development and rehabilitation plans, including but not limited to the planned military reservation and Ecozone;
The immediate implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan and return of all IDPs for those in ground zero with completely destroyed homes and livelihoods and the full payment of damages wrought by conflict;
And the immediate, impartial and thorough investigation by credible judicious body/ies.
The pains of Marawi are felt by the indigenous peoples and those in other conflict-affected communities where continued militarization and violent displacements have become a day-to-day travail.
Our cries for Marawi resonates a cry for Mount Firis and the sitios of Makun and Bagung of the municipalities of Datu Unsay, Datu Hofer, and Datu Saudi in Maguindanao where our Teduray and Dulangan-Manobo families and clans have been caught in the crossfires. Women, children and the elderly have been the most affected, suffering from the heavy bombardment, arson, and armed encounters between conflicting forces that have resulted to the destruction of properties and lives, and the annihilation of the integrity of our environment, including the burning of more than sixty houses and surrounding vegetation resulting to displacement and evacuation of residents that until now have not returned to their homes.
Our indigenous life-ways and traditions that have sustained for us through the ages the integral unity of nature-human-cultural harmony shall not find peace and balance anymore for as long as our ancestral homelands are being occupied by armed groups, therefore, a return to normal civilian life of Camp Bader and Camp Omar will also be a return to stability and peace for our people.
Our cry for Marawi is also our cry for the victims of Zamboanga siege of 2013 that until now have not found comprehensive and sustainable resettlement and rehabilitation despite the well-intended efforts of government and foreign development actors to offer to build-back better.
We continually anguish in fear of a repetition of another Marawi in the provinces of Sulu, Maguindanao, or elsewhere in the rest of our homelands where political situations have grown more volatile and unpredictable each day as the ratification of the finalized peace agreements continue being stalled. So we urge government and concerned legislative institutions to once and for all resolve the political overtures on the question of our right to self-determination, be it through the route of a Bangsamoro Basic Law, Federalism, or move for Charter Change
We urge the President to exercise his utmost power to deter exploitation by opportunists and political adventurists of the perceived desperation and popular disgruntlement. This demoralizing situation pervading in our communities must be prevented from being spun into a scenario of proxy war and the further aggravation of our already endangered human security where perennially hangs a looming threat of violence erupting, a justification for perpetuating our state of precariousness, fragility and vulnerability.
On Social Justice and Reconciliation
We stand firm in our collective commitment to social justice as the bedrock of sustainable and lasting peace in Mindanao and Sulu, and hereby resolve to support a process and mechanism of Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in the Bangsamoro that shall listen to our legitimate grievances, heed our demands to address historical injustices, aid us in the search for solutions to issues of land dispossession, disenfranchisement, and marginalization; and one that could facilitate the immediate and unconditional indemnification of victims of human rights violations.
The Transitional Justice and Reconciliation as a regionally-devolved body shall be nationally mandated to institutionalize a process and mechanism for the unheard voices that for technical, cultural or reasons of their “otherness” were deprived of access to spaces and wanting in adequate and substantial representation during the course of formal negotiations and peace dialogues.
The process shall ensure the full and direct participation of minoritized and marginalized voices of peoples and communities of women, youth and children, indigenous persons, diaspora and migrants, and of the subaltern and politically diverse-minds.
The mechanism shall guarantee an equitable representation of these diverse voices with at least fifty percent (50%) women in key positions and of major decision-making function.
We strongly believe that the voices of sufferings and grievances of mothers, sisters, daughters and loved ones in Marawi are also our voices and only when a system of transitional justice shall have been institutionalized would works of healing and national reconciliation be sustained and genuine peace be really achieved.
SIGNED this 13th of March 2018 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, Mindanao.