Press Release
March 3, 2015

March 6 to be declared as National Day of Healing for Unity and Peace

The Senate today adopted a resolution declaring March 6, 2015 as a National Day of Healing for Unity and Peace "to remember those who perished in Mamasapano as well as the thousands of lives lost from decades of armed conflict."

Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Aquilino Pimentel III, authors of the resolution, said Resolution No. 1204 also encourages the Filipino people to stand for justice and stay the course of peace."

For his part, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the resolution is also an expression of the upper chamber's desire to honor and give justice to all victims of the Mindanao conflict, and its support for the ongoing peace process which aims to finally end hostilities in the region.

"We must not allow peace to be the latest casualty of this event. Now, more than ever, we must not stray away from the path of peace." Drilon said.

The Mamasapano incident has grave implications to the continuing peace process and to the lives of the peoples of Mindanao who continue to suffer from the debilitating impact of decades of armed conflict even while undergoing rehabilitation efforts," the resolution stated.

March 6 marks the 40th day after the January 25 Mamasapano incident which claimed the lives of 44 Philippine National Police - Special Action Force members, 18 Moro fighters and some innocent civilians.

The Commission on Human Rights said at least 1,500 families have been displaced for fears of armed confrontations escalating in the area of Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

"This unfortunate incident has likewise caused a national divide threatening to polarize the country and its peace-loving peoples, with some sections issuing condemnation, hasty judgment and espousing bloody retaliation," according to the resolution.

"Civil society groups, peace movements and communities across the country have started to gather as peace advocates calling for unity and peace. There is an imperative and urgent need to pause and re-assess our common aspirations to bring peaceful solutions to our nation's problems," the resolution said. (Apple Buenaventura)

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