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Philippine Counterinsurgency on Mindanao Fuels Civilian Displacement March 26th, 2015
Humanitarian agencies are struggling to cope with a growing number of people displaced by fighting between government forces and a Muslim insurgent group on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says more than 120,00 have sought shelter in public buildings or informal camps since fighting broke out in January between government forces and rebels from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Provision of food, water and latrines is proving to be a major difficulty. Meanwhile, the fighting has disrupted the rice harvest, which will lead to further food shortages for affected families.
Thousands rally for peace in southern Philippine city of Cotabato February 12th, 2015
Activists in the Philippines have urged government to pass legislation, and formalize an end to decades of war.
UCA News, an independent news source on Asia, reported that around 20,000 people held a pro-peace rally in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato on Thursday. Participants were calling for for the immediate passage of legislation to formalize the peace process in Mindanao and end almost four decades of Moro rebellion. Passage of the legislation has been threatened by the death of at least 67 people, 44 of whom were police commandos, in a bungled raid against suspected terrorists in the town of Mamasapano on January 25.
In the cities of Marawi and Davao, also on the island of Mindanao, peace activists join condemning the calls for war, saying the passage of the BBL “is the only solution for lasting peace.”
“We sympathize with those who perished in Mamasapano, but we should not make it a reason to abandon the peace process, abandon the BBL, and make millions more including helpless children, orphans, women and elderly suffer from the horrors of another all-out war,” said Ustadz Mauladdin Sagapan, who led a group from the religious sector in Davao Oriental to the rally in Davao City.