Majority of Filipinos want martial law in Mindanao to expire by end-2019

Michelle Abad

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Majority of Filipinos want martial law in Mindanao to expire by end-2019
A Social Weather Stations survey reports that 65% of Filipinos agree that martial law should end by December 31

MANILA, Philippines – A majority of Filipinos want martial law in Mindanao to expire by the end of the year, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The SWS survey found out that 65% of Filipinos said that martial law in Mindanao should expire by the end of 2019.

The government imposed military rule on the island of Mindanao during the siege of Marawi City by the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Maute terror group in May 2017.

Malacañang has announced that there will be no more extension after December 31.

According to the SWS survey, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao all have proportionate opinions on the lifting of martial law, with those calling for the termination at 67%, 67%, and 61% respectively.

Meanwhile, the December 2019 survey reported that 34% still think it should be extended, but under some conditions:

  • 22% think it should be extended in the entire Mindanao;
  • 7% think only Marawi City and Lanao del Sur province should have the extension;
  • 5% say Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, and neighboring provinces should have the extension.

The President  decided to end martial law in Mindanao after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año both recommended that there was no need for another extension.

‘No more threat’

Martial law in Mindanao has endured for two and a half years, extended twice since its first declaration in May 2017. The extensions have been dubbed by Mindanao congressmen as needed for “public safety.”

Some groups, like an Akbayan party list and affiliate group Sentro contingent, have mobilized to Congress in the past to protest the extensions.

In the SWS survey, the statement: “At present, there is no more threat that another Marawi-like terrorist attack can happen anywhere in Mindanao (Sa kasalukuyan, wala nang banta na ang isa pang pag-atakeng terorista gaya ng sa Marawi ay mangyayari saan man sa Mindanao),”  received a “very strong” +33 net agreement score. 

The statement that the military committed “very few, if any, human rights abuses” during the martial law in Mindanao, also got a “very strong” net agreement score of +41.

An earlier claim by the military and police said there were no human rights violations under martial law in Mindanao. Opposition congresswoman France Castro, however, said she experienced abuse herself.

During martial law under the disgraced late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, at least 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 were killed. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know–

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.