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Legislator denounces unjustified declaration of martial law in Mindanao, urges immediate lifting

24 May 2017 No Comment

24May 2017
References: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio

Statement of ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on Pres. Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao

I denounce President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao as an unjustifiable recourse to fascistic and militarist methods for dealing with social unrest in our society.

Hours before the President’s declaration, the Armed Forces itself assured the public that they were in full control of the situation of Marawi City. Clearly, this localized armed encounter between the AFP and an obscure group with alleged ties to ISIS in Marawi City is being used as a mere pretext for the unwarranted placing of all of Mindanao under martial rule for 60 days.

In last night’s press conference from Russia, Defense Secretary Lorenzana made it clear that the entire Mindanao is under martial law in order to allow the government to deal once and for all not just with the immediate threat posed by terrorist groups such as Maute and Abu Sayaff, but also with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the New People’s Army.

It is ironic that the first President to hail from Mindanao has now placed his home island under martial rule. His declaration paves the way for an intensification of war against the people of Mindanao, especially in Moro and lumad areas, and willlead to even more gross violations of human rights and civil liberties.

It should be noted that this declaration has been in the works for months. The President has been dropping hints and conditioning the public for months that Mindanao is in a state of rebellion and that, consequently, he was considering the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

Unfortunately, Pres. Duterte and the hawks in his administration seem to be willfully ignoring the lessons of history. Armed conflict in Mindanao, as in the rest of the country, is rooted in the historic exploitation and oppression of the poor and marginalized – the landless and jobless peasants, the Moro and the lumad. Real solutions require genuine socio-economic and political reforms based on social justice, such as those being discussed in the peace talks, and cannot be attained by a purely military approach. Twenty years of martial rule under Marcos did not lead to peace but to the intensification of popular resistance and the ousting of the dictator.

I hope that Pres. Duterte will heed the lessons of our history, reconsider, and immediately recall his declaration of martial law. Instead, he should more urgently pursue genuine social change through peace talks with the National Democratic Front and the Bangsamoro.

Otherwise, this declaration of martial law in Mindanao must not go unchallenged. it could pave the way for the imposition of martial rule throughout he country, given that the same conditions of social unrest and popular armed resistance may be found nationwide. Martial law must be opposed by all Filipinos who aspire for genuine freedom and democracy. ###18697608_1651396731567395_390051863_o

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