ORC Complex Cotabato City, Philippines Telefax (064)+4219424

February 9, 2005

Her Excellency,
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacañang, Manila

T H R U: The Honorable Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles
Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process
Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Our Dear Madam President:

We, the Bangsamoro Women Solidarity Forum appeal to the woman leadership of this country to direct the military hierarchy for the stop of the ongoing military operation in Sulu, and for the full-dressed investigation on the root cause of the now unfolding crisis in Sulu;

The leadership of Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should, at least, be saddened by the fact that the simultaneous attacks on Philippine military camps and posts in several municipalities of Sulu started with the suffering of a fellow woman and her helpless child as casualties of irresponsible military action in the island province;

The massacre of a woman and her child in Barangay Kapok Punngol Maimbung, Sulu last week by some elements of the Philippine military in search of Abu Sayyaf bandits has generated the cycle of vengeful ferocious simultaneous attacks on military camps and posts in the province;

Relatives of the victims had informed local government officials about the incident, but their plea for justice apparently fell on deaf ears, prompting their relatives in the Moro National Liberation Front to mount the ferocious retaliation on the Philippine soldiers.

The attacks have naturally resulted in deaths of combatants and non-combatants and new displacement of civilians in the municipalities affected; Based on this, we appeal to the President and her government’s Department of National Defense through the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process, to:

Create an Independent Probe Body composed of national and local officials as well as representatives from the private sector and the media that will immediately investigate on the root causes of the attacks and prosecute the military officers and personnel involved in a civilian court;

Call off the deployment of military forces to the Province of Sulu, while the Independent Probe Body will investigate on the incidents that preceded the attacks;

We also call for the immediate conduct of dialogues/ negotiation between the government and the MNLF under the leadership of Prof. Nur Misuari to resolve their differing positions on the implementation of the September 2, 1996 Peace Agreement.

Very truly yours,