Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 allegedly as a response to terrorist acts by the Maute group in Lanao del Sur especially in Marawi City. He later also threatened to impose martial law nationwide.
Yesterday, June 22, Saturday, the House of Representatives (HOR) deliberated on the extension and expansion of the coverage of the martial law declared over Marawi to be up to December this year and to cover the whole of Mindanao, as requested by the president.
Whatever comes out of their deliberation, for what could be expected of a HOR of ill repute for being a “rubber stamp” to anti people policies favoring imperialist or neo-liberal interests in the country far more than honoring the majority Filipino population that live out poverty day in and day out?
The research group IBON says, “the Duterte administration’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao increases political instability in the country, and will not help the economy, which is already slowing as it is. While the 1987 Constitution provides for such a declaration, its indiscriminate use gives the impression of an authoritarian government arbitrarily using power for self-serving ends. This creates an economic environment hostile not just to workers, farmers and basic sectors but also to capital and legitimate businesses not aligned with the government.”
Since May of this year, people of Mindanao especially from the directly affected areas of the martial law have cried out against gross human rights violations, mass displacement of communities running from a shooting war and air raid bombings over their villages and communities, of civilians (not terrorists) getting shot, abducted, jailed or tortured without legit warrant.
Tomorrow our president delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA), it is expected that he would justify his declaration of martial law over Marawi and even maybe the expansion and extension of it. And, display his grief over what he calls his soldiers and policemen dying in the war he has declared – against foreign invaders? Filipino civilians? Or invisible drugs and terrorist ghosts”? He also may rave over the cancellation of the back-channel talks with the NDFP due to the absence of the “desired enabling environment for the conduct of the peace negotiations” and even blame them for making him “cancel” the peace talks.
Also, tomorrow the progressives among the students, peasants, farmers, worker, indigenous peoples, teachers, youth, urban poor, fisher folk, jeepney drivers and operators, etc. Shall march and rally against the untruth in the President’s Sona and again reiterate their actual issues that need his urgent attention. They will shout their call against martial law and against the military and police atrocities/human rights violations in their commuities, demand loudly for the lifting of martial law. They will push hard for the resumption of the Peace Talks between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, where their issues as a people are raised, heard and solutions sought and deliberated on with them.
IBON recalled, The country’s last experience with nationwide martial law resulted in a wide range of anti-people neoliberal “free market” policies being forced on the Filipino people, world class bureaucratic corruption, and the unprecedented bloating of the country’s foreign debt and a severe financial burden on the economy.
Why should anyone allow their government to put all of us Filipinos pushed lower, under those severe economic conditions? Let us support the public outcry, keep the marchers safe, let us make our government work to uplift the nation with all of us. # nordis.net