MP Anna Tarhata Basman (Google photo)

BTA MP Basman renews call for ceasefire in Gaza

COTABATO CITY– The Bangsamoro Parliament through MP Anna Tarhata Basman renews call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as she described the ongoing conflict there as “genocide.”
In a privilege speech delivered Thursday, November 16,  MP Basman, concurrent Deputy Floor Leader,, said the Israeli government’s bombing of hospitals in Gaza and supposed safe zones and passage routes, its attacks on civilians, journalists, and medical professionals, and its refusal to provide access to food, water, electricity, and medical supplies are “war crimes.”

“This is plainly, and without a shadow of doubt, genocide unfolding right before our eyes,” she said as quoted by Mindanews in its online post on November 19. 

Citing reports from the United Nations (UN), Basman said that there are more than 11,000 dead, with at least 4,630 are children, 3,130 are women. 

The UN has been calling for an immediate ceasefire, as it warned that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “catastrophic,” with millions of people in need of food, water, and medical supplies. 

The UN said on its website that “grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians in the aftermath of 7 October, particularly in Gaza, point to a genocide in the making, Mindanews report said.

It said the bombardment and siege of Gaza have reportedly killed over 11,000 people, injured more than 27,000 and displaced 1.6 million persons since 7 October 2023, while thousands are still under the rubble. 

Basman cited there has been “unceasing attack on civilians, journalists, medical professionals – even from inside a hospital complex all throughout the day and night” and the unrelenting refusal to provide access to food, water, electricity, fuel, and much, much needed medical supplies. “

“If these are not war crimes, I don’t know what are,” she said. 

On October 17, the Bangsamoro Parliament adopted consolidated resolutions—with one filed by Basman—calling for the unconditional cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor for Gaza, and condemning acts of violence and collective punishment against the Palestinian people.

“Now is not the time to be silent … We are Palestine and Palestine is us,” Basman said as quoted by Mindanews.

“As a people who know all too well what it means for others to recognize and echo your call for the right to exist, we the Bangsamoro people, should raise our voices on behalf of those struggling for survival, the people of Gaza, the people of Palestine,” said Basman, a lawyer who previously chaired the legal panel of the Philippine government’s peace panel in the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

In her privilege speech on November 16, Basman described the conflict as “A threat to international political order … more than that: this is a disgrace. It is unacceptable,” she said.

Basman reiterated her call for an unconditional ceasefire, saying that “there is no other option.”