Philippines Marks AFP 74th Anniversary Amid New Report About Mindanao Crisis
"The international outrage generated by last month's massacre in Maguindanao, southern Philippines, of 57 men and women, half of them journalists, may offer opportunities to make progress in the areas of justice, security and peace," the International Crisis Group said in a press statement issued today.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., Manila, Philippines, and Brussels, Belgium, December 21, 2009 The Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP ) marks its 74 th anniversary in ceremonies being held today in the troubled Province of Mindanao as international concerns mount about the causes of a recent massacre that included the killing of many journalists. Increased political violence and heightened controversy in Mindanao is highlighted in a report by the International Crisis Group released today.
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group ( ICG ) as well as the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) have raised concerns about the crisis in Mindanao and the Southern Philippines. In a recent report, the ICG reportedly alleges that the Philippine Government bears some responsibility for the political massacre of fifty-seven people on November 23 in Mindanao because of its policy of support for militias and warlords in the violence-torn southern Philippines. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6451&l=1
“Ceremonies are slated across the archipelago to mark the 74th Anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including in Mindanao and its Western Command, which faces very serious challenges and clear opportunities for new policy changes in light of recent tragic events as well as the modern security and civil society building context of the troubled southern provinces,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.
The Western Mindanao Command or ( Wesmincom ) is lead by Lieutenant General Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino.
“Despite the very serious problems in Mindanao and recent upswing in political violence, General Dolorfino is viewed by some as an advocate of civil-military operations that seek to bring the people closer to the government for the purpose of nation building in the Philippines despite challenges from terrorism and other threats in the area and region,” Smith stated.
“Despite the recent massacre or journalists and men and women, General Dolorfino is viewed as trying to use the Armed Forces Anniversary events today to stress this message and policy direction in this very violent and troubled Southern region of the Philippines despite serious allegations by the ICG and others regarding the use of government supported, clan-backed private militias against insurgents in the province, ” Smith concluded.
“The international outrage generated by last month’s massacre in Maguindanao, southern Philippines, of 57 men and women, half of them journalists, may offer opportunities to make progress in the areas of justice, security and peace,” the ICG said in a press statement issued today in Brussels, Belgium and Jakarta, Indonesia.
“'The Philippines: After the Maguindanao Massacre,’ the latest update briefing from the International Crisis Group, shows how the 23 November killings were not the result of a clan feud, as widely reported, but of Manila’s deliberate nurturing of a ruthless warlord in exchange for votes,” the ICG said.
“To call it a feud is to diminish the Arroyo administration’s role in allowing a local despot to indulge his greed and ambition, including through building up a private army in the name of fighting insurgents”, says Sidney Jones, Senior Adviser to ICG’s Asia program. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6451&l=1&m=1
“The massacre on 23 November 2009 of 57 men and women by the private army of a warlord allied to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shocked the country and the world,” the ICG noted today.
The ICG in Belgium is a respected international leader in conflict prevention and resolution. It claims that 120,000 lives have been claimed in separatist violence in the Philippines over the last 30 years. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=2861
A message by General Victor Ibrado, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff will be reportedly read at flag raising ceremonies being held today by Westmincom in Mindanao.
Contact: Ms. Maria Gomez or Mr. Juan Lopez
Telephone ( 202 )543-1444
CPPA - Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Suite No. #212 Washington, D.C. 20006 USA
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