ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman: Remembering the Mamasapano Encounter
A year has passed since the Mamasapano encounter that left more than 60 dead and prompted the evacuation of at least 120,000 residents. But beyond the numbers, it is the fear and doubt that was planted in the hearts of our fellow Bangsamoros that have been the most difficult to ease.
Time heals all wounds, we’ve been told. It has been a year, but it wasn’t just the past twelve months that allowed us to recover and rebuild. It was our peoples’ capacity for mutual understanding and our refusal to act in unjust ways, despite the anger, that has allowed us to move forward together.
Instead, we have addressed the needs of our people. With the help of the national government and our regional agencies, we have built new roads, new school buildings, and a new mosque.
Together, we have built a new bridge in Mamasapano which has made it easier for farmers to transport their produce, for students to go to their schools, and for the people to move easier from one place to another regardless of the weather.
The old bridge still stands, however, a striking reminder of what happened a year ago – that we need to remember, that we need to overcome, and that which still needs to be done.
The national government has constantly reached out to Mamasapano in the hopes of helping to uplift the people’s livelihoods by providing better infrastructure and services that can improve their day-to-day lives. Most importantly, it has reaffirmed its commitment not only to Mamasapano, but to the entire region as it continues to push for peace and development in the ARMM.
This continuous process of healing and rebuilding is not without its challenges. It is easy to stoke the flames of conflict, to act in anger and without thought but, as we have always done, we continue to choose what is best for our people – we continue to act in accordance with our commitment to peace and reconciliation, guided by kindness and compassion.
There is still much to be done, and healing cannot be fully realized without justice. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict but is also, above all else, the assurance that justice will always prevail. It is our hope that in the coming days and beyond, we will continue to work together towards just and lasting peace.