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Protect and Respect the Life and Properties of the Mindanao People; Uphold Human Rights and Special Protection to Children

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center is gravely concerned at the renewed attack of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the Moro people in the guise of war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the provinces covering the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. With the scuttled peace talks following the non-signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain by the government panel, the military attack once again escalated to an alarming proportions affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

A particular concern is the continuous use of aerial bombing and indiscriminate shelling employed by the AFP that outrightly violates the International Humanitarian Law. The escalation of attacks and counter-attacks has resulted to the death of more than 70 civilians and wounding several hundreds including women and children. On September 8, 2008 six civilians were killed when attack aircraft fired upon several boats carrying fleeing civilians along Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao. Instantly killed were Daya Manunggal Mandi and his children Aida, 17; Faiza, 1; Bai Lyn, 10; King, 8; and Dayang, 6 and their mother Vilma. The military troop has been quick to justify the violation that those who were killed were fleeing rebels including the children.

As a consequence of the military aggression, about half a million civilians were forcibly displaced and were housed in 99 different temporary shelters. We fear that the numbers will continuously swell with the constant bombing and shelling conducted by the government forces.

Equally alarming is the military’s report on the alleged presence of child soldier in the ranks of the MILF. The report came about immediately after the killing of the children in Datu Piang, thereby insinuating that these children were child soldiers and thus, the military are justified in attacking them. The AFP continues to use the excuse of child soldiers in the ranks of revolutionary groups to justify the violations committed against civilians especially on children.

Urgent Action Demanded

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center vehemently protests and condemns the government attacks on the civilian population victimizing the children at worst. We protest and condemn in the strongest possible terms all on going brutality, indiscriminate bombing and shelling and other human rights abuses perpetrated against the innocent people of Mindanao.

We also protest against the military’s continuous use of the use of child warriors as an excuse to justify human rights violations against children. We believe that using such tack will further endanger the children as they will become open target of attack from operating troops.

We appeal to the Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Secretary of National Defense, the AFP Chief of Staff Alexander Yano to abide by the international norm and standard in the conduct of war under the International Humanitarian Law and uphold the human rights and protect the lives of the civilians.

We also urge the MILF to ensure the safety and protection of the civilians, especially women and children in their communities, away from armed conflict areas.

We also call for the resumption of the peace negotiations, giving particular attention to the issue of ancestral domain that the Moro people have been longing for. We believe that the military solution must not be the main government response in this situation since history has proven that this only resulted to the death, injury and displacement of the people in Mindanao and not to the resolution of the root of the conflict.

PLEASE SEND THIS APPEAL TO:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Mobile:
Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579
osec@opapp.gov.ph

Sec. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.
Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
osnd@philonline.com

Please voice your support, fax or mail your appeal to the addresses
above and help save the children of Mindanao .

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said addresses to:

Children’s Rehabilitation Center

#90 J. Bugallon St Project 4 Brgy Bagumbuhay Project 4 Quezon City

Telfax: (+632) 4391053

Email: childrehabphilippines@yahoo.com.ph/admin@childrehabcenter.org

Website: http:www.childrehabcenter.org