Mindanao motorcyclists show oneness with Marawi IDPs

Mindanao Peace Process • Thu Sep 28, 2017 02:51 PM  •  606   0
By John Unson
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy
Various motorcycle clubs joined the riding event meant to highlight Muslim-Christian solidarity against violent religious extremism. (JOHN UNSON)
Various motorcycle clubs joined the riding event meant to highlight Muslim-Christian solidarity against violent religious extremism. (JOHN UNSON)
COTABATO CITY – Hundreds of Muslim and Christian motorcycle enthusiasts launched Thursday a three-day “Ride for Marawi City" to show that the conflict there is not a sectarian rift as what some perceive to be.

Part of the activity is the dispersal of hygiene kits by the bikers, who shall motor through highways connecting Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, to evacuees from Marawi City.

Organizers, among them Asnawi “Jojo” Limbona, president of the Black Hawk Motorcycle Club, and Michael Sinsuat III, a councilor in North Upi town in Maguindanao, told reporters the event is meant to highlight the solidarity among Muslim and Christian southerners amid the trouble in Marawi City.

“We want to show to the world that the conflict in Marawi City is just between few spiritually misguided fanatics versus combined peace-loving Muslim and Christian communities in the country,” Limbona told reporters on Thursday.

They took off from Cotabato City en route to evacuation sites in Iligan City and in towns in Lanao del Sur via the Secretary Narciso Ramos Highway.

The Ride for Marawi City involves more than a dozen motorcycle groups from across Mindanao, among them the Canari, the WTB, the Explorer, the Sniper and Raiders Club and the Harley Owners Group.

Officials of these organizations said their humanitarian mission is also meant to highlight their support to the Mindanao peace process, which aims to resolve through negotiations the nagging southern Moro issue.

“Most importantly, we want to show that Muslims and Christians in Mindanao are one against violent religious extremism,” said Sinsuat, now in his second term as North Upi municipal councilor.

Limbona said their Ride for Marawi City was first inspired by how their counterparts in Region 1 embarked last month on a “Ride for Peace in Marawi” in La Union province in Luzon.

Hundreds of Christian bikers joined in the motorcycle event in San Fernando, La Union to show oneness with the more than 300,000 internally-displaced people from Marawi City.

The activity was organized by Supt. Jesus Ostrea III, top officials in the Police Regional Office-1 and the Regional Highway Patrol Unit-1.

Ostrea, a senior PRO-1 staff, said the event was also intended to boost the morale of personnel of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao helping restore normalcy in Marawi City.

The hostilities in Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur, erupted on May 23 when Islamic State-inspired militants laid siege to barangays there, sparking hostilities that have since dragged on.
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy