We, the members of the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi Association of Private Schools (ZAMBASULTAPS) and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Region 9 and Western ARMM, condemn the recent merciless killings and assaults in Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan. Evidently this is a spiral of violence since last year. On 23 October 2011, the carnage resulted in the killing of 6 and wounding of 2. On 5 April 2012, 3 were killed and 7 were wounded. On 11 July, 8 were killed and 28 wounded. The most recent incident on 07 September 2012 left 1 dead and 35 injured. In this case, the victims were rubber tappers (gomeros) of Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Cooperative (TARBIDC).

On 15 July 2012, Claret School of Tumahubong Director Fr Julius Boado CMF, and 2 Claretian missionaries and a lay person survived an attempted ambush in the same area.

We denounce this spate of violence and those who perpetrate these senseless killings.

We appeal to the law enforcers and the government to restore the rule of law in Basilan and to bring to the bar of justice the culprits of the crimes.

We recognize with gratitude those who have assisted the victims and their families.

We are one in solidarity with victims and the people especially the children who have been traumatized by violence and those who continue to live in fear.

We support the work of those who relentlessly struggle to promote peace founded on development and justice.

We pray for peace in Basilan and in other conflict areas in Mindanao and the Philippines.

ZAMBASULTAPS and CEAP Region IX and Western ARMM
11 September 2012