House to probe unstable security situation in Maguindanao

A VETERAN lawmaker is asking the House of Representatives to investigate the recent outbreak of violence in Maguindanao allegedly instigated or supported by some public officials who are opposed to
the ongoing peace talks in Kuala Lumpur.

“There have been indications that these unprovoked attacks were supported or instigated by some public officials who stand to gain advantage from the ensuing violence and chaos, particularly from the
displacement of legitimate residents of the areas affected, as well as, to disturb the peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, to discourage any favorable agreement that may be reached by the negotiating parties,” former deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong (2nd District, Maguindanao) said.

The investigation, in aid of legislation, under House Resolution 2711, is being sought following the August 5 to 11, 2012 bloody incident during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Datumanong recalled that elements of the Bangsa Moro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attacked military detachments and civilian centers in several
municipalities in the lawmaker’s district.

The sudden and coordinated attacks, Datumanong pointed out, caused the deaths of several soldiers and innocent civilians, destruction and pillage of civilian property and public infrastructures, and
displacement and evacuation of thousands of innocent civilians.

“The security situation in Maguindanao remains unstable,” Datumanong revealed.  HR 2711 was referred for proper action to the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs chaired by Rep. Arnulfo F. Go (2nd
District, Sultan Kudarat).

Until now, he said, civilian movement is seriously restricted because the national highway and other major road networks traversing the affected municipalities are systematically closed for certain periods
of time, particularly at dusk and night time.

Furthermore, he added, that the displaced residents are reluctant to return to their residences for fear that violence may erupt anytime.

“Congress must be apprised of the present security situation, particularly in my province, so that policy measures may be adopted to prevent escalation of hostilities.

Likewise, there’s a necessity to address the needs of displaced and affected residents and evaluate the effects of the breakdown of peace and order in the wake of the ongoing peace negotiations between the
MILF and the Philippine government,” Datumanong stressed.

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