Filipino-Americans in the United States called President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s prayer for peace a sham. Arroyo attended the interfaith forum of the United Nations in New York.
In a statement sent through email, the US chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-New Patriotic Alliance) said, “Although Arroyo attended to put forth this notion that she prayed for peace in Mindanao…her actions go against any route toward peace.”
Members of Bayan-USA, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) held a vigil to protest Arroyo’s war in Mindanao.
Anakbayan New Jersey member Kat Dy who hailed from Davao City said, “While I was living in Mindanao, Muslims, Christians, and non-Christians lived and worked together peacefully. If GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] wanted genuine peace in Mindanao, she should remove the U.S. and Philippine troops from Mindanao.”
The groups said that the militarization of Mindanao is the cause of massive and wide-scale displacement of communities. Today, over 500,000 Mindanaoans have been displaced from their lands and require immediate relief, they said.
The groups also said that the US government is not fighting terrorism in Mindanao but only wants to control the vast natural resources of Mindanao, including gold and oil.
Berna Ellorin of Bayan-USA said, “For a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, we look not on the so-called Muslim-Christian conflict as the obstruction to peace, but the neoliberal dictates of the US government and subservience of the Arroyo regime to those dictates…the ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro people must be respected, and that the US government should withdraw its military presence in Mindanao for peace to reign.”(Bulatlat.com)