UNYPAD joins Mindanao Multi-Sectoral Peace Rally, calls for Justice for Kabacan massacre victims

KABACAN, COTABATO PROVINCE (September 6, 2020) – A Mindanao multi-sectoral peace rally calling for “Justice for Kabacan Massacre,” “Conduct Fair and impartial investigation of Kabacan Massacre,” “No to Violence, Yes to Peace,” “No to Revenge, Yes to Justice,” was held at Ma’ahad Kayaga, Kayaga, Kabacan, Cotabato Province, Saturday, September 5, 2020.
The theme of the rally was “Lives Matter,” that refers to the precious lives lost during the merciless killing of 9 young Moros in the provincial road inside the USM Compound, in Kabacan town.
Organizers said that the rally was held to call, and appeal to authorities to fast track the investigation of the heinous crime in order to give justice to the victims.
The gathering also aimed to foster, and strengthened unity among Muslims, Christian and Lumad in the municipality, and generally in Cotabato Province.
“This event is purposely to resolve the problem as any war ends with peaceful resolutions. “Kung gaano kahalaga ang buhay ninyong mga Kristiyano, ay ganoon din kahalaga ang buhay naming mga Bangsamoro,” said Ustadh Montasir Manco, representing the Muslim sector.

“Past experience led us to search for peace. Isinasagawa ang peace rally na ito upang mabigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ng mga biktima ng massacre, Hindi kami gaganti dahil bawal ito sa aming relihiyon,” Uz Manco emphasized.

Christian Religious sector representative Pastor Solomon said, “Nangimbal tayo sa mga nangyayari, kahit ako na pastor ay natatakot. Let justice be given to the victims, as for now, we could not conclude whoever the perpetrators are, but rest assured the Almighty knows who they are, and for that they will pay for their wrong doings.”

“Let just give peace to others because for sure with the presence of peace we can love our enemy. And on behalf of my Christian brothers I am asking for apologies for whatever is lacking to those that we can give you my Muslims brothers. Let just give forgiveness to one another,” Pastor Solomon added.

Farmer sector representative, Mr. Marco Mamaluba, in his brief message gave support message to the organizers, and called on everyone to keep calm and allow the authorities to handle the investigation. 

Yvone V. Saliling, women sector representative, expressed their utmost sympathy on the incident and called for justice for the nine (9) innocent victims. 

“I am also deeply saddened by that incident which happened in the perimeter of USM. This is very ironic to the beliefs of the founder, Bai Matabai Plang when she established  the University,” she expressed.

“I hope that the message of this peace rally will bring peace and justice to all, Saliling underscored.

Youth sector representative Engr. Fatma Guiabar expressed her highest condemnation of the killing. She also called on some sector or individuals to stop spreading fake news, and false accusation that may induce fears, and lead to chaos to the people living in the Kabacan. 

Datuan Magon, representing the civil society organizations particularly the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), a large group of youth organizations, condemned in the highest degree the brutal killing of the nine innocent civilians.

The Moro Fronts also gave their messages of support. From Political Committee of Kapalawan Province, Jack Manampan also called for justice to the victims. 

“We should not put justice into our hands the justice that we want. Let the authorities handle the investigation. Let’s just give space for a thorough and impartial investigation. We also call on the witnesses to come out, and help in the investigation,” he added.

Pol Com. North Cotabato represented by Vice Chairman Nasser Mustafa also gave a message of sympathy emphasizing that the lives of Bangsamoro matter most.  

Some members of BTA Parliament were also present in the rally.

Eastern Mindanao Front commander Jack Abbas said his presence is a form of a Taajiya (consolation) to the families of the nine (9) innocent victims. He reminisced the good relationship between Muslims and Christian in Kabacan.

Hon. Abas emphasized how important for the Muslims and Christians to understand the situation. 

He further called the attention of the probe team to conduct proper investigation. “With a very fair investigation, we can come up with the correct result,” he said.

Also present to give message of support was Hon. Jabib M. Jabar, BARMM’s Area Coordinator for seven Barangays of Kabacan that are now part of Bangsamoro Region. 

He mentioned that supposedly the gathering was to call the attention of other municipalities to show sympathy for victims of unlawful acts, such as murder, etc, not only in Kabacan, but in the Cotabato province as a whole, the plan did not materializd due to the existing health protocols.

Jabar further emphasized that the conduct of the peace rally is not for the purpose of revenge but to foster unity and to seek justice for the innocent victims. 

Mr. Jabar also thanked the presence of some leaders of the BARMM that despite their hectic schedule, they find time to attend the rally to show their sympathy, and concern to their constituents. 

Moreover, he prays that the unity of Muslims, Christians and Lumads in Kabacan will not be destroyed by spoilers of peace in the area.

Dr. Abubakar Murray, representing USM President Fransisco M. Garcia declares that USM will give full support for a speedy investigation of the incident. 

Cotabato SGA Administrator Muhammad U. Antao emphasized that the incident will serve as a wake up call for everyone to seek justice in a very fastest way. 

BARMM Executive Secretary, and BIAF Chief of Staff, Hon. Abdulraof  A. Macacua reiterated in his message that the event is aimed to seek justice for the fallen nine innocent civilians.

He urged everyone to exercise restraint and patience and to wait for the result of the investigations. He related that even members of Congress expressed readiness to investigate the incident. 

“What we are asking from you, especially the witnesses is to cooperate in the conduct of investigation,” he added. 

The Multi-Sectoral Peace Rally was sponsored by Mindanao Alliance of Peace (MAP)  and was assisted by Bangsamoro Communications Network (BCN), Inc.