LBO extends helping hands to Gokotan Victims, CSOs show massive support

Cotabato City February 6 -- The League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) provided relief assistance to the victims of human rights violations in Barangay Gokotan, Pikit North Cotabato.
LBO President Prof. Hashim B. Manticayan has directed Committee on Peace Unity and Reconciliation chair Mahdi Amella to spearhead the distribution of rice and noodles relief goods for more than 400 families most of them relatives of the victims located at Barangay Gokotan, Pikit North Cotabato. 

The provision of assistance is form part of LBO Ta’ajia or sympathy to the bereaved families of the slain civilians when the police led by PNP Regional Director Brig. Gen. Alexander Tagum conducted a raid on December 29, 2021 that resulted to the killings of an innocent civilians, lootings and destruction of their properties.

Early Saturday morning, LBO team composed of more than thirty SUVs (all members of the LBO) loaded with relief goods convoyed towards Pikit and headed to Barangay Gokotan where a short program held. 

In his opening statement, LBO CPUR chairman Mahdi Amella explained why the peaceful condemnation rally cum solidarity visit did not take place on January 21. According to him, this does not mean that they are afraid of the Tagum's group who planned to stop such activities. But coincidentally the IATF National declared North Cotabato under alert level 3 due to surge of Covid 19 cases. “Because of this we did not continue the proposed rally and solidarity visit because we do not want to violate the health protocols’, Amella added.

Meanwhile, Abdulgafor Dalid, a close relative of the victims called on everyone to remain calm in the midst of the trial that has come into their lives. He also asked everyone to just trust BARMM as he believes that BARMM government will not abandon them in their situation. He also revealed some information, according to him, he received a call from the PNP man. “Someone from the PNP wants me to sign a receiving copy of a motors that they want to return but I refused to it because we have already submitted this issue to the BARMM leadership so it's up to them on how they resolve the case. Even if those motors and other important belongings cannot be returned to us, so be it, as long as justice will be given to the victims of these heinous crime”. Dalid said.

Representative of Coordination Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) Commander Aratuc also gave a short messages, He said that if it were not for our respect to the peace agreement it would not have been happened, that we would have been attacked without intense retribution from our side. He also informed everyone that Maridagao is a land of a famous Moro Warriors the like Kagi Manalos who never retreat from any battle. “You are just policemen, we fought harder against the soldiers many corpses were left here, including their high -caliber weapons”. He added. 

Abdulfatah Dalid, son of a victim emotionally expressed his sentiments on the unjust killing of his family and the looting of their properties.  The pain inflicted on us is not only in Gokotan as it also happened in the entire Bangsamoro. This oppression is not only now but it has long been done to the Bangsamoro. “It's not fair that somebody break into your house, shoot your family while sleeping and steal your belongings”. He said. “Now all the people here are already affected, they are all traumatized. Everybody in this community has been greatly affected, their livelihood has been affected, their business their farming. With this, we call on everyone, all over the world to help us achieve justice so that the lives of the people here can return to normal,” Dalid said
Atty. Abdulnasser Badrudin of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) was also present at the program, he provided updates regarding the incident, according to him, and case has been filed against the individual members of the raiding team. He said that the case is in progress.  His only appeal to everyone is the cooperation of all involved in the case especially the witnesses.

In his closing remarks LBO Spokesman Emran Mohammad gave updates regarding the commitments of the LBO in seeking justice for the Gokotan victims. “The LBO is now moving heaven and earth on how to attain justice for the victims. After the Press Conference on January 23 in Cotabato City, the LBO did not stop there, in fact few days ago, we went to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPPRU) to submit our manifesto, we also wrote a letter addressed to BHRC, and other government line agencies informing them about the incident. We also have schedule to meet the European representative and the Head of Mission of the International Monitoring team (IMT), Mohammad said. 

While the program was going on, hundreds of people gathered with postcards on display with written “Justice for Gokotan Victims”, Respect the Ceasefire Agreement”, Stop discrimination Against Bangsamoro people” and others.

After the program, LBO CPUR and staffs arranged the beneficiaries for a ceremonial turn-over of a relief goods. The distribution runs smoothly and all the recipients/beneficiaries around were able to get their respective share.

The relief assistance extended by the LBO to the victims is part of its continuous effort to support mitigation and rehabilitation program of the present BARMM regional administration, proof that the CSOs and the BARMM government are partners in peace and development efforts.

The said relief assistance is a fulfillment of the LBO's previous commitment to visit the victims to sympathize and provide the corresponding assistance.