MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao: Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Mindanao on Monday asked for a reinvestigation of massacre cases perpetrated against the Bangsamoro with the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident.
The encounter on January 25, 2015 left 44 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) dead.
The Mindanao Alliance for Peace, through its chairman Bobby Benito, said the Mamasapano reinvestigation would be more relevant if it would also include other victims such as those from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), its splinter group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and “private armed groups.”
The Senate will reopen its investigation into the Mamasapano encounter on January 27.
Benito noted that most of the SAF 44 families have received tremendous support from the government and the private sector.
“But in the case of the families of the BIAF 18 and the civilian victims, they only received token assistance from the government. Are they less Filipino than the SAF 44? Or is it because they are considered the ‘villains’ in the incident?” he asked.
Meanwhile, Maulana Alan Balangi, president of the 1-Bangsamoro Movement (1Bangsa), told The Manila Times that those who died in the Mamasapano incident were the so-called Moro 23.
Balangi was referring to the 18 mujahideen (MILF and BIFF fighters) and five civilians.
Balangi narrated how Sarah Panangulon, 5, was killed when PNP-SAF commandos strafed their house that also wounded her parents. A farmer, Badruddin Langayen, was also killed among three others.
Meanwhile, ecumenical prayers for the dead officiated by Muslim clerics and indigenous priests from the Cordillera Region capped off Monday’s commemoration of the Mamasapano incident here.
At least 14 of the 44 members of the SAF killed were from the Cordillera.
A group from the Cordilleras led by the region’s multi-tribal Council of Elders and two traditional religious leaders, clad in their scant but colorful native attires, arrived in Cotabato City and proceeded to the encounter site in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano to conduct their rituals.
The ecumenical prayers were attended by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and peace advocacy groups helping push the Mindanao peace process.