We in AKBAYAN! view with great concern and alarm the recent wave of bombings in General Santos City. We condemn this brutal act of terrorism that caused the death of two innocent people and the wounding of 42 others, including a two- and-a-half year old child. Women, men, children, Moros and Christians were victimized by the bombings. There is no justification, political or religious, for this contemptible attack on civilians.

The Estrada government’s response is predictable: it blames the MILF and justifies its continued military offensives with this incident. The police will probably raid Muslim communities in GenSan, arrest random “suspects” and pronounce the case “solved”. Then it will vow to obliterate MILF forces once and for all, whatever the costs.

It is this combined incompetence and unreasoning all-out war policy of the Estrada government that is as much to blame for the worsening violence and unrest in Mindanao. By failing to deal effectively with terrorist attacks, it has exposed the whole country to all sorts of opportunistic forces. On the other hand, by refusing to explore other options to address the root causes of a long-standing rebellion, it has helped create this vicious cycle of terror and retribution.

The sad thing is that innocent people pay for this government’s hubris, ineptness and bloodlust. How many more bombings need to occur before our over-funded police force does its job? How many more communities need to be destroyed before this government realizes that it is planting the seed of hatred deeper into the hearts of Mindanaoans?

We call on all concerned Filipinos to demand a stop to the war that has cost the lives of so many of our countrymen. If the national leadership continues to devote its resources and efforts to warfare, peace and development in Mindanao will never be achieved and all of us will have to live under a climate of war for many years to come.

June 26, 00
Secretary General
Akbayan! Citizens’ Action Party