Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Feuding Families in SK Caused Families to Flee Homes

DATU BLAH SINSUAT, Shariff Kabunsuan -- Some 500 families from four hinterland villages of this town fled their homes following recent clashes involving two feuding families with ties to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), officials here said.

Mayor Manot Sinsuat said because the families did not have time to bring with them provisions due to fear of being caught in the crossfire, the local government was now faced with the problem of where to get food stuff for their survival.

Sinsuat said the 20 bags of rice sent Tuesday by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had been exhausted and were divided among the nearly 2,000 evacuees from Laguitan, Sinampak, Meti, and Sodom villages.

Sinsuat said aside from food, the displaced residents also needed medicine and clothing.

"Many of them, mostly children, are now sick and are suffering from colds, cough and fever," he said.

Dr. Elizabeth Samama, Maguindanao health chief, said health workers have been sent to look into the condition of the evacuees.

The evacuation took place when armed members of the Tabunaway and Minalang clans traded bullets anew last week over their long-running land dispute.

What worsened the conflict, Sinsuat said, was that the combatants were joined by their kin from the MNLF and the MILF.

Senior Superintendent Ismael Ali, provincial police director, said the renewed fighting on April 10 left at least five people dead.

Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao said disarming the antagonists was not possible because they were members of groups recognized by the government.

Although the MNLF signed a peace agreement in 1996, its members were allowed to keep their firearms.

The MILF is currently talking peace with the government.

Ali said a peace dialogue would be held between the warring clans to put an end to the dispute.

"Shooting each other will not solve the problem. There will be no winners, only losers if you kill one another," Sinsuat said in addressing the two families.

Clan wars have been blamed as one of the reasons behind the security situation in provinces belonging to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The disputes ranged from simple misunderstanding to politics.

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