It’s an appalling prospect but not unexpected, especially since the recent Supreme Court ruling has enabled the virtually unfettered exercise of the President’s martial law power.
It’s becoming more evident that the Marawi crisis was merely the pretext, but the Duterte regime’s plan all along is to place all of Mindanao under permanent martial rule. Pres. Duterte and his allies are keen to implement big infrastructure and agribusiness investments Mindanao, funded mainly by China, that will face opposition from poor farmers, lumad, and Moro who will inevitably face displacement and exclusion. His administration is turning towards more repressive tools, such as martial law, in the hope of suppressing the resistance of the poor and marginalized so that these big ticket projects will push through.
However, the Duterte administration seems to be ignoring the lesson of history, that martial law will not bring peace but only further violence to the people of Mindanao.###