Rights abuses in Mindanao martial law to be worse than Marcos’

/ 12:14 AM June 02, 2017

As a nation we have gone through the monstrosities of martial law. Given the record of AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año who is its administrator, a repeat of martial law will inevitably see far worse rights abuses.

The people of Mindanao themselves have been through various forms of rights abuses fomented 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. More so with warmongers close to President Duterte’s ears.


The President said that martial law was imposed to protect the country and its citizens. He also said that Marcos’ martial law was “very good.” Looking back, though, history shows the opposite—instead of ensuring the safety of citizens, it worsened the rights violations.

We also take exception to the Vice President Leni Robredo’s admonition for the people to “trust the AFP.” If anything, we should be vigilant and cautious with military operations. After Marcos’ martial law, gone are the days when we can trust the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


May we remind the Vice President: the blood spilled by the atrocities committed during Marcos’ martial law tainted not just Marcos’ hands, it also stained the hands of generals and many other officers, even ordinary soldiers. We would do well to never forget this.

Karapatan strongly urges President Duterte to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao, and to stop loaded warnings (read: threats) about putting the entire country under martial law. There are inviolable, constitutional rights that cannot be deprived, regardless of place, time or context.

But despite such safeguards, martial law will give way to systematic rights violations. Just like in the time of Marcos, the military and the police will disguise such violations as necessary for the “security” and “protection” of the people, or in “the interest of the nation.”

Also, we should all be wary of the subtle “war strategies” of the United States to make way for its interventions in the internal affairs of other countries, with the help of local surrogates in the military. Note that Suara Bangsamoro had earlier reported of Maute Group’s ties with the Philippine military. We should look deeper into the Marawi incident, lest it becomes another excuse to deploy foreign troops and further undermine our sovereignty.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Marawi and Mindanao. We reiterate: Martial law or, for that matter, a militarist approach, is not the solution to Mindanao’s problems or a way to achieving peace and order. It is by rooting out the unjust causes of unrest can a just and lasting peace be achieved.

Should President Duterte continue down the martial law path, he and the warmongers under him will eventually be held accountable for its consequences.

secretary general, Karapatan,
[email protected]


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TAGS: AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año, Mindanao martial law, rights abuses
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