Upholding the Rights of the Citizens in a time of conflict

In the past days, we have witnessed how the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Marawi have been disrupted by the actions of the Maute Group. As many flee the violence that has taken over the city and as many experience displacement, we continue to appeal to civil society to work together with the local church and government agencies to ensure the safety and well being of those affected. In solidarity with those who experience this insecurity, let us ensure the availability of necessary material and social supports to help our affected brethren pass over this period of crisis. As educators, we wish to call special attention to the plight of children and young people, who in this situation of conflict are rendered the most vulnerable.

We denounce the lawless acts that have been committed by the Maute group against the civilian population of Marawi. The right of people to life and liberty cannot be subordinated to one group’s assertion of its political or religious beliefs. The actions of the Maute group run counter to the values of tolerance and dialogue that we wish our young people to learn and live by.

We urge our government leaders to uphold the processes guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution. We believe that the restoration of order in Marawi City can be accomplished by the judicious use of the powers provided by the Constitution and the unwavering commitment to protect and respect the inviolable rights of individuals. The situation of disorder cannot be addressed by an appeal to discord and wanton disregard of the limits imposed on the exercise of the state’s power. The prudent use of power by those in authority is a blessing for those who are governed.

The conflict that is now playing out in Marawi City has as well, deep roots in our country’s history. As an institution of learning, we are committed to a deeper appreciation of the roots of discontent that have fuelled this conflict. We pledge, to build alongside our civil government, the structures that will allow every Filipino access to resources that are necessary for development. Our development can only be authentic if we all develop together. As an educational institution, we re-commit ourselves to allowing persons and communities to realize their own power for creating good. May the long march towards the peace we long for begin in our hearts today and live on in the actions we shall take in the days ahead.

Live Jesus in our hearts!

Fraternally,

(sgd.)

Br. Jose Mari L. Jimenez FSC

President, De La Salle Philippines