Thousands of Filipino Muslims flocked to Marawi City on October 19 to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemn the continuing Israeli attacks in Gaza.
Traditional and religious leaders led the protest rally inside a school compound calling for the end of the occupation of Israel in Palestinian territories and the cessation of conflict in the area.
Drieza Lininding, chairperson of the Moro Consensus Group, urged the Philippine government to “side with the aggrieved party” and “remain careful on taking sides, especially the side of the Zionist”.
“The Philippines cannot just extend unconditional support to Israel and ignore the fact that Israel is the aggressor in this conflict,” he said.
He urged the Philippine government to advocate for the de-escalation of the conflict in Gaza and support UN resolutions aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis in the region.
Lininding also warned that if the situation worsens and turns into a regional conflict, “the country must stand on the side of peace and express empathy with the victims”.
Over 20 Islamic groups, including One Maranao One Muhadarah, the Royal Sultanate of Lanao, Moro Consensus Group, and the United Imam of the Philippines organized the mobilization.
Lininding said world leaders and the international community must put pressure on Israel to “end the murder of innocent civilians including children, women, and the elderly”.
Since Israel declared all-out war on Palestine – following the deadly attack of Hamas militants in Israel on October 7 – at least 3,785 have been killed, including 1,524 children and 1,444 women.
Media reports indicate that the actual death toll in Gaza is likely to be far higher as hundreds more victims remain buried under the rubble of buildings leveled by the Israeli air strikes.
The United Nations said some 100 unidentified bodies on October 15 “were buried in a mass grave in Rafah due to the lack of refrigerated space to store them until recognition procedures are conducted”.
UN also reported that at least 30 percent or 12,845 units of all residential buildings in Gaza have been destroyed by Israeli air bombardment.
Over one million people have been displaced and now experiencing increasingly dire conditions in temporary shelters.
Earlier this week, Bangsamoro Transition Authority member Anna Tarhata Basman filed a resolution calling for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza and the safe return of Palestinians to their homeland.
All photos by Mark Saludes