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PEACETALK: Dear Ambassador Teddyboy Locsin

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There is no room in Philippine Society, much more in the high offices of government, for the dangerous, bigoted, and Islamophobic rhetoric that is palpable in your now deleted statement.

It is unbecoming for any Filipino, much more a high official, to visit genocidal machinations upon innocent children of any nation. An ambassador who is tasked to represent the best of our nation, a defender of our nation’s interests, must espouse our nation’s commitment to peace and humanity.

Under no circumstance is the killing of Palestinian children justified, and it is no laughing matter when more than a thousand Palestinian children have lost their lives in Gaza within this past week alone. Right now, a child dies every fifteen minutes in Gaza. That said, under no circumstance should Islam – or any other religion for that matter – be so callously associated with terrorism. Not when the terror being unleashed upon the innocent civilians in Palestine is hinged on the erasure of their history and the annihilation of their people – regardless of their religion. Are these not lessons we should have already learned long ago, given the gains of the peace process in the Bangsamoro? 

If there is one thing you got right, it is that any ideology that enables terrorism must end. As government officials, we are called upon to practice restraint and wisdom with every statement we make. There should be no room for interpretation – or misinterpretation – when we speak about matters of life and death, because our words are not ours alone. We represent every Filipino of every religion, and we must treat every person with the respect and dignity we want for our people and our nation.

And for your information, not all Palestinians are Muslims. There are sizeable number of Palestinian Christians in Gaza. And many of them were killed in the recent airstrikes on a Baptist hospital and an Orthodox Christian-run hospital. 

May your statement land on deaf ears.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. This piece was first posted by Lanao del Sur 1stdistrict Representative Zia Alonto Adiong in his FB page on 22 October 2023. MindaNews was granted permission to share this). 

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