July 18, 2017
Is the Duterte regime on its way to becoming a military dictatorship? This is our greatest fear now that Pres. Duterte wants martial law extend in Mindanao and possibly elsewhere.
The last 60 days of martial law in Mindanao have seen a spike in human rights violations of civilian communities affected by increases and intensified military and police operations. Aside from areas in and around Marawi, Lumad communities resisting large-scale mining have been particularly affected by intensified military operations. The military has even started interfering in labor and land disputes in the guise of martial law. Repressive measures like curfews, checkpoints and blockades of food and medicines for affected communities have been put in place. This has got to stop.
Neither the situation in Marawi nor the entire Mindanao calls for such a drastic and draconian measure. On the contrary, we have been repeatedly told that the fighting in Marawi is coming to a close and that the Maute group is trapped and dwindling in number.
As to the other armed groups in Mindanao, neither the MILF nor the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have joined the Maute/Abu Sayyaf alliance. In fact, the President just yesterday met with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leadership in Malacañang and promised to expedite the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Meanwhile, the fifth round of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is scheduled for next month. Previously, the NDFP even expressed willingness to declare a unilateral ceasefire in certain parts of Mindanao in order to allow government troops to focus on the Marawi siege.
In any case, since last year, Duterte has already placed the entire country under a state of national emergency. He is already empowered to call on the military to quell any act of lawless violence, including acts of terrorism.
Thus, BAYAN registers its strong opposition to Pres. Duterte’s plans to extend or expand martial law. We call on Congress not to be a party to this dangerous ploy. We call on the people to resist such moves to impose a military dictatorship on the country. We say, never again.#