The Filipino people in Mindanao and the country must strongly oppose Martial Law

Press Statement | 25 May 2017

The NDFP in Mindanao strongly condemns the imposition of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, through Presidential Proclamation No. 216, in all 27 provinces and 33 cities in the Mindanao island. We urgently call upon all Filipinos in Mindanao and the rest of the country to unite and rise in militant protest to oppose this draconian edict and push for its immediate lifting.

By placing Mindanao under Martial Rule, the fundamental rights, civil liberties and freedoms of millions of innocent civilians in Mindanao, especially the Moro people, are placed under the threat of abuse by the forces of the AFP, PNP and its paramilitary groups, who are emboldened to commit abuses, such as enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and hamletting among others, with impunity now that they have been given power over and above civilian authority.

Photo: Philippine Collegian

Even the so-called “safeguards” in the 1987 Phil. Constitution cannot guarantee that the AFP and the PNP will not overstep in the implementation of Martial Law in the next two months or more because of its notoriously long history of human rights violations. The main implementers of Proclamation 216 under the Duterte government, particularly Gen. Eduardo Año, Delfin Lorenzana, Hermogenes Esperon, etc., are themselves rabid human rights violators and are styled after the Marcosian brand of militarism.

The recent siege in Marawi City by the so-called Maute Group, which is being made to appear as having links with ISIS, was a brutal assault against the people of Marawi. We condemn in the strongest terms possible this attack, which has mercilessly caused the deaths of a number of individuals and the destruction of livelihood and properties in the city.

However, the Maute problem is but a result of the long-standing Moro problem, which, time and again, the GRP has intentionally neglected and worsened the situation through deceptive solutions. For decades, the Moro people in Mindanao have been thrown into a perpetual state of oppression, exploitation and chauvinism, which has only made it possible for groups with extremist ideals to take root among their ranks.

Thus, on one hand, the GRP has only itself to blame for perpetuating and intensifying national oppression against the Moro people, making the Marawi attack and similar acts possible in recent history. On the other hand, the reactionary government has also taken advantage of this fact by either rearing or tolerating groups such as the Maute or the Abu Sayyaf to serve as means to justify any brazen move on their part to help consolidate or perpetuate themselves in power.

It appears that the Maute siege and the subsequent imposition of Martial Law, which is apparently intended to cover not just Mindanao but the entire country, is being used to play into a grand scheme to entrench themselves in power and thwart any and all effort at deposing the Duterte regime by way of coup d’etat or other similar attempts at regime change.

Whether they will admit to this or not, by placing the entire Mindanao island under Martial Law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus, only the Filipino people ultimately stands to gain nothing and lose everything, from their basic rights and freedoms down to their very source of our livelihood.

The NDFP-Mindanao therefore urges all Mindanaoans, all Filipinos, to stand united in our opposition against the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao. Martial law is not and will never be the solution to the basic problems that prevail in the country, in fact, it will only serve to aggravate and worsen it. Mindanao is just the beginning; we must mobilize to stop it from spreading to the Visayas and Luzon, and push for its lifting.

We encourage the people to use all available means, including social media, to express strong, unequivocal denunciation of the resurrection of a reviled Marcosian edict. Join all forms of protests organized in school halls, barangay centers and in the streets to amplify our strong opposition.

Furthermore, the NDFP-Mindanao calls on all revolutionary forces to redouble their effort at defending the people from the onslaught of Martial Law. In the final analysis, strengthening the revolutionary armed struggle is the only effective way to fight against the brutality of Martial Law. The various guerrilla fronts in Mindanao are open, and welcomes all who pass the requisites, especially those who come from the cities and are under threat of capture by enemy forces, to join the ranks of the New People’s Army.#

Ka Joaquin Jacinto