Rights group urges Duterte to lift martial law declaration
We are a nation that has gone through the monstrosities of martial law. Repeating it again, with no less than another butcher, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año, as administrator, will inevitably worsen rights abuses.
The people in Mindanao have been through various forms of repression instigated by counterinsurgency programs and the recent all-out-war declaration.
With martial law in tow, an open fascist rule coupled with impunity will set the stage ripe for open State terrorism.
President Rodrigo Duterte said that the martial law declaration was done to preserve the country and its citizens. He also said that Marcos' martial law is "very good.”
Learning from history, however, martial law has done the opposite, aggravating rights violations instead of ensuring the safety and protection of citizens. More so with warmongers holding significant influence in Duterte’s decisions.
When civilian supremacy and civilian processes are thrown to the side, so are our rights. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will also open the floodgates for illegal arrests, torture, and detention of civilians as what happened when the past regimes implemented the said measure.
We also take exception at statements of Vice President Leni Robredo to "trust the AFP." If anything, we should be vigilant and cautious against military operations.
Gone were the days where the AFP can earn our trust, after their role as main violators during and after Marcos’ martial law declaration. We remind Robredo that the atrocities of martial law were not just on Marcos’ hands but on several more military generals and high-ranking officers. We would do well to never forget that.
Karapatan strongly urges Duterte to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao, and to stop loaded caveats regarding putting the entire country under martial law.
There are inviolable rights that cannot be foregone, regardless of place, time or context. But despite such safeguards, martial law is a pandora’s box that will give way to systematic rights violations. Just like during the Marcos regime, these violations will be justified under the blanket of “security," “protection," and “national interest."
We should all be wary of the covert war-making strategies of the United States (US) to justify their intervention in several countries, done in collusion with US surrogates bearing the face of top Philippine military officials.
Suara Bangsamoro has earlier reported of Maute Group ties with the military. We should further investigate the US and the military’s role in the Marawi incident lest it becomes another excuse to deploy foreign troops and further undermine our sovereignty.
We stand in solidarity with the people in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao. It should be reiterated that martial law is not the solution, along with other militarist approaches.
We remain steadfast in the rooting out the causes of unrest and calling for a just and lasting peace. Should the Duterte administration continue down this path, he and the warmongers under him will be held accountable. – Rappler.com
Cristina Palabay is the Secretary General of Karapatan, an alliance of individuals, groups and organizations working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. (Profile photo from Palabay's Facebook account)