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Moro-Lumad group hit Duterte for stoking Islamophobia

The alliance of national minorities in the Philippines, Sandugo, has expressed solidarity with the struggle of the Moro people against Islamophobia or fear of Muslims. They said like his predecessors, President Rodrigo Duterte has continued the more than a decade-long US global “war on terror” in dealing with the Moro struggle in the Philippines.

Duterte justified the martial law declaration in Mindanao and the non-stop military airstrikes in Marawi City as a response to the threat posed by the Maute Group and other ISIS-inspired groups. He blamed the Meranaws, the predominant tribe in Marawi City, for coddling the terrorist groups and their ideology for the Marawi siege.

Such generalization led to the displacement of more than 400,000 residents of Marawi City and nearby municipalities and the widespread destruction of the Islamic City in Mindanao.

According to Jerome Succor Aba, spokesperson of Sandugo, “It is ironic for a president who claims he has a blood of a Meranaw, who knows the decades-long problem of the Moro people and sympathizes with their struggle would also be the only president to have pulverized the whole lone Islamic City in the South and caused the destruction not only of their properties but their culture, beliefs and community.”

The Sandugo assembly in its indictment of President Duterte said his crimes against the national minorities may lead to ethnocide—the systematic obliteration of culture, religion and community.

Aba added that by far President Duterte’s implementation of the US global “war on terror,” targeting the Bangsamoro has been the most destructive. The previous regimes conducted massive arrests and detention of suspected terrorists for a corresponding amount in dollars under the US State Department Rewards for Justice Program.

“President Duterte’s earlier pronouncements of an independent foreign policy is but an empty rhetoric. What we are experiencing right now is a fascist regime subservient to the economic, political and military interest of its master, the US government,” Aba said. (sandugo)

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