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'There is no glory ....'
[Press Release from
the Office of Rep. Wigberto Tanada
The government and MILF should go back to the negotiating table -- Tañada
Former Senator and now Quezon Rep. Wigberto Tañada urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to "cease all military offensives and exhaust all peaceful means" to resolve the armed conflict.
"There is no glory, no real victory in an all-out war that does not distinguish between military objectives and the civilian population. Trying to defeat a rebellion primarily through military means will only generate greater human rights violations and spur resistance from those who feel crushed by the weight of the military boot," Tañada said in the First Regional Consultation on the Philippine Human Rights Draft Declaration in Baguio City yesterday. He is the chairman of the Philippine Working Group for an Asean Human Rights Mechanism.
On the Abu Sayyaf, Tañada said, "There can be no justification, no excuse ever for the barbarity of the Abu Sayyaf which has proven itself as a bandit gang masquerading as a political rebel group."
He stressed: "The Abu Sayyaf should definitely be dealt the full force of the law once the two separate sets of hostages in their clutches are released."
On the other hand, the strategy of "total war [against the MILF] has not proved successful in stamping out insurgency under the past administrations."
"It would be dreadfully wrong for the national government to apply the military solution to the conflict in Mindanao to the exclusion of political options," he said.
Citing the 150,000 civilians displaced in armed conflict between the government and the MILF rebels, Tañada said a way out must be found to break out of this arena of suffering and bloodshed.
"The fate of the country hangs on the balance. We choose the military option and we shall irretrievably sink in the abyss of war. We take up the challenge of peace and we can shift the conflict back to the negotiating table and stop the slide of the country into deepening armed conflict," he said.
"I can only hope that we, as a civilized people, realizing that there are no victors in war, only casualties, will decide in favor of peace," he added.
He cited a statement of the late Jose Diokno, one of the country's foremost human-rights advocates: "Because militarization is inherently repressive, it breeds dissent and resistance. Militarization is a self-fulfilling prophecy: it creates the very conditions which `justify' it."
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