Italians stand for genuine peace for the people of Marawi and Mindanao
04 June 2017, ROME. Italians today expressed great concern on the tragic incident yesterday in Resorts World hotel in Manila with 36 fatalities and scores wounded, shocking people around the world. The tragedy caught the attention of news agencies and netizens, generating diverse comments of sympathy, fake news, and contradicting statements from authorities of the Duterte government.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims and casualties. We hope that what happened would not lead to the Duterte government undertaking harsher security measures against the Filipino people which will result in more abuses and repression;” decried Luciano Seller, President of the Italy-Philippine Friendship Association.
The attacks by the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City on 23 May raised great concerns in Europe. More alarming was the news of aerial bombings and artillery shelling conducted by the Duterte government on Moro communities, even in areas far from Marawi City and the suspected hideouts of the Maute group. Among the numerous civilian casualties was Abdullah Mamansag, 34 years old, a farmer, Magindanaon and a resident of baranggay Salata. Mamansag was hit by shrapnel in his spine and his right leg was cut off after being hit by a cannon. Two more residents of the said village, Norhamin Taligapin, 25, and Dodong (not his real name), 14, were brought to the Amas Provincial Hospital after they were also hit by shrapnel in the stomach and chest. The incident displaced more than 1,000 individuals.
“We strongly stand with the people of Marawi, the fear and pain inflicted by the terrorist Maute group are condemnable, but we believe that Martial Law will bring additional terror to the people, placing tens of thousands of lives in Mindanao at risk;” lamented Seller.
Meanwhile, the IPFA expressed displeasure with the Duterte government´s withdrawal from the 5th round of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which was supposed to have begun on 27 May.
“We are displeased that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) withdrew their participation from the 5th round of peace negotiations. It would have been a perfect opportunity to seriously consider expanding the discussion of Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and to truly address the root causes of the five-decades old armed conflict in the Philippines. We appeal to Presient Duterte to continue the peace talks and to lift his Martial Law declaration in Mindanao;” stated Seller.
The IPFA or the Comitato de Amicizia Italo-Filippino is a region-wide organization of Italians and Filipinos in Lazio, Italy, and a member of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. ###
Luciano Seller, President
Italy-Philippine Friendship Association (Il Comitato di Amiciazia Italo Filipino per Diritti Umani nelle Filippine)
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