Solon seeks justice for victims of mortar blast in Maguindanao

A MINDANAO lawmaker on Wednesday called for sobriety and justice for the families who figured in the reported mortar shelling during the Eid’l Fitr celebration in  Barangay Kitango in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao that has left two children dead and 14 others wounded. 

While local authorities are now looking into the case, locals from the barangay couldn’t help but express their frustrations over the incident as they seek justice for the slain children and wounded family members.

“My family and I were also victims of  unspeakable violence, so believe me when I tell you that I understand the gravity of what they (the victims) are going through.  But while I understand their sentiments, I fervently ask for temperance and call for cooler heads to prevail,” Maguindanao Rep. Esmael ’Toto’ Mangudadatu.

The lawmaker has also called on the Commission on Human Rights to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the case as locals alleged that the explosions were caused by mortar shelling fired by military troops.

Officials from the Armed Forces, on the other hand, earlier stated that they are also conducting their own investigation as there are no troops authorized to operate that day in respect to the celebration of Eid’l Fitr.

“As  Chair of the Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Committee at the House of Representatives, I appeal to everyone to please refrain from spreading unverified information that may further lead to more acts of violence,” he said.

Mangudadatu said that incidents such as this often end in animosity and rebellion against the government and to the authorities.

“I have seen how sons picked up the rifles after their fallen fathers. If we are bent on putting the cycle of violence to an end, then we must stand together and work to achieve lasting peace.”

He also said that aside from emotional and financial support, the affected families also need spiritual and mental counseling to tide them during this difficult phase.