Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nov. 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women

(Photo:Liza Tripoli taken from FB Justice for
Ampatuan Massacre Victims)

Statement of the Commission on Women
24. November 2009.

Women Outraged Over Maguindanao Carnage

No words can describe the bestial acts perpetrated yesterday in
Maguindanao Against civilians, mostly women. Together with the group
were two sisters and the wife of Esmael Mangudadatu, Vice Mayor of
Buluan town, who were on their way to file his certificate of candidacy
as provincial governor of Maguindanao when they were attacked in broad
daylight. They were murdered in cold blood and there were reports that
some of the women were also sexually violated, in a senseless massacre
that will go down in the annals of this country’s history as the worst
election-related violence. If unarmed women, lawyers and journalists
are not safe, who is safe?
From news reports, the Vice Mayor was quoted to have said that he
purposely sent his wife, sisters and female relatives to file his
candidacy without military escorts as he believed that they would not
be harmed being women and unarmed. But to his shock, the perpetrators
precisely took advantage of this position of vulnerability and succeeded
in committing those barbaric acts.

We, the Mindanao Commission on Women and the Mothers for Peace, express
our outrage at this new low in bestiality perpetrated by men on civilians
but most specially on women. If the reports that the women were violated
are found true, we condemn it. Sexual violence is an issue of power,
domination and control wielded by men over women. In times of conflict,
it is used by men to ensure utter humiliation of the enemy. This latest
incident by men, who are widely-believed to belong to a private army,
makes us shudder at what will happen in the days ahead if these criminals
and their principals are not brought to justice.
We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Mangudadatu family.
Eden Mangudadatu, sister of BuluanVice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu,
and a Vice Mayor herself had attended activities of the Mindanao
Commission on Women. It is ironic that early this year Eden participated
in discussions of our project, “Women Healing Communities:Preventing
and Reducing Rido (clan feuds)”.
During the session, she shared her thoughts about rido and how
women played an important role in settling cases of clan violence.
The barbaric and brutal massacre in Maguindanao shows the total breakdown
of security in parts of Mindanao where many women and their families
live in dehumanizing poverty and violent conflict. We call on President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – as President and as a woman - to do the
right thing: disband and disarm the private armies, bring down the
full force of the law on the perpetrators, and rid Maguindanao and other
parts of Mindanao of the scourge of warlordism. We also call on our
colleagues and partners in the development community to stand unafraid
to denounce this crime loud and clear. Let us continue to work for the
end of conflicts that divide us, so that our children will grow up imbibing
not anger, hatred and violence, but love,justice and peace.
As Mothers for Peace, we commit to continue our work for peace in the ways
of peace.

The Mindanao Commission on Women and Mothers for Peace Movement
121 University Avenue, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City
Telefax: (082) 298-40-31

About MCW
The Mindanao Commission on Women was established in 2001
as an NGO by Mindanao women leaders. Its mission is to influence
public policy and public opinion. It advocates for a Mindanao peace
and development agenda from a women’s perspective. Area Core Groups
across Mindanao give MCW the ability to influence local, Mindanao
and national issues.
The Mothers for Peace movement is its grassroots base.

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