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Martial law in Mindanao tragic to Moros and lumad

12:03 AM May 29, 2017

Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu) condemns the Maute Group’s terrorist attacks in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and the sudden declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Katribu demands that President Duterte revoke his anti-people declaration. What started as a “surgical” operation, supposedly, against some elements of the Maute Group suddenly turned into an all-out gunfight. And civilians in the densely-populated Marawi City were caught in the crossfire.

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines has since declared the situation in Marawi City “containable.” Still, Mr. Duterte imposed martial law on the entire island, which could lead to grave human rights violations and other chilling consequences. What happened in Marawi City was definitely an operational blunder by the AFP and yet, it continues to be used to justify martial rule in the entire Mindanao.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted as saying that the declaration is directed against all the other resistance groups in Mindanao, including the New People’s Army. Lorenzana’s chatter about solving the Mindanao conflict within 60 days of martial law is downright delusional and reeks of fascistic tendencies, contrary to President Duterte’s promise of peaceful ways to resolve the roots of the armed conflict in the country.

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As part of the administration’s Oplan Kapayapaan, an all-out war has already been launched against what they call “terrorist groups,” including the Maute Group. Also, last February, the AFP also launched an all-out war against the NPA, and this has led to, at least, four lumad killings by state forces, four bombings in indigenous communities, and, 2,000 dislocated lumad communities.

History tells us that a militaristic approach to the problems of the Moro people and the revolutionary armed struggle launched by the NPA have always led to massive human rights violations against civilians. Mindanao has always been subjected to countless military operations, state of emergency declarations, and all-out war pronouncements; and we have yet to find peace, because poverty, landlessness, discrimination and widespread oppression still persist, and the real instigators of terror are the state and the men in uniform themselves.

Martial law will just give the military (and the paramilitary groups under them) a stronger license to pillage indigenous and Moro communities, and abduct and murder known legal activists and ordinary citizens.

The declaration of martial law is not aimed at sowing peace in Mindanao. Its fangs are really aimed at legitimate dissidents who are fighting against environmental plunder, ancestral land-grabbing and US intervention.

We stand with our Moro brothers and sisters who are currently caught in the crossfire, and we will send help there, especially that Ramadan has started. We are also in unity with their continuing call for genuine recognition of their right to self-determination and of their struggle against all forms of oppression against national minorities.

PYA MACLIING MALAYAO, secretary general, Katribu

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