Not for all
“A comfortable life for all” was the theme set for yesterday’s State of the Nation Address, the second for President Duterte.
The theme hinted at the accomplishments of the administration in the year since Mr. Duterte took office, and by “comfortable” we took it to mean that the President would talk about the rising economic status of Filipinos, that would hopefully translate to healthier, better educated, happier citizens.
But count among those citizens, too, the thousands (the latest count stands at 8,000) of individuals suspected of being “into” drugs, whether as users or pushers and killed by either police or unidentified “vigilantes.” Thousands more have been arrested or subjected to “rehabilitation.” Add to their number the widows, children and other survivors of the fatalities. For them, perhaps the “comfortable” life that the President foresees for them is full of irony, if not cruelty. For all? Not for them, and not for an increasing number of their ilk.
Not all voices were heard, not all viewpoints were allowed, during the joint hearing of the Senate and the House of Representatives last Saturday.
We all know the results, the overwhelming vote in favor of the extension of the declaration of martial law until the end of the year. We were also given a “taste” of opposing views.
But did we get the entire picture? Most importantly, were we able to hear the most important voices on this question—the Moros, and most particularly, the residents of Marawi?
One man came to deliver his own views, reflecting the views of his brother and sister Muslim Filipinos, on not just the extension of martial law in Mindanao but also on the conflict in Marawi.
He was Haroun Alrashid Alonto Lucman Jr., vice governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and for one reason or another, he was not given the opportunity to address the joint chambers.
So here’s Lucman’s prepared address to the public for everyone’s awareness:
I speak before you as a Maranao and for my people who are directly affected by the Marawi siege.
From Day 1 of the siege I was in Marawi as instructed by our regional governor
Mujiv Hataman, to give assessment to the ARMM government so that the regional government is properly guided in acting upon the situation.
Let me first be clear on the position of the ARMM government on these terror groups; we support the military campaign against them and we want them completely neutralized. We must not allow them to regroup and sow terror in our lands. [The Islamic State] is against humanity as a whole, and humanity must unite in fighting them.
According to the NEOC, the number of IDPs (internally displaced persons) has already reached 527,00 individuals. This number has surpassed the actual population of Marawi City, which is 207,000 persons.
The reason is that even those in the municipalities of the province have fled to other areas outside of Lanao. Some for economic reasons, but many because of fear of martial law.
Martial law to us is repressive, abusive, and dehumanizing. That is the martial law that we suffered during the Marcos rule. Our people fear it and abhor it.
On the other hand, our military men like Gen. Carlito Galvez, General Bautista, and General Rey are doing well in confronting these terror groups. According to our very own Defense Secretary Lorenzana, just a while ago, very few remain of the Maute group fighting our military men and they have substantially weakened.
They can very well deal with these remaining forces without the need for extending ML. I have no problem with martial law. I know my rights under its rule. but our people fled as far away as they can and scattered in many places because they fear martial law.
Yesterday, the Manila police rounded up Muslim boys in Quiapo for questioning because according to sources they carry no identification cards.
It’s hard enough being an IDP. It’s doubly hard living in a place not your own and suspected of being a terrorist.
Your honors, whatever your decision here, please feel our people’s sentiments. We want to go home.
Lanao is the ONLY place we want to be. Please bring us back home.
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