Martial law won’t address poverty

/ 05:00 AM August 08, 2019

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s facile insinuation that President Duterte might impose martial law to curb the  violence in Negros Island is irresponsible and simplistic, given the gravity of what is at stake and the complexity of the issue of land ownership.

Has not the ineffectual imposition of martial law in Marawi, and later in the whole of Mindanao, taught us something? Seen from a historical perspective, the fiasco of Marcos’ use of martial law should also have served as a final lesson to all ambitious leaders harboring any thought of despotism. It didn’t bring peace and order. What it brought the citizenry was the wholesale violation of lives and human rights, the death of innocents and, ultimately, chaos.


Martial law is no solution to the growing lawlessness in Negros, much less a cure-all for the multiple problems inherent in democratic governance. Increasing and expanding military presence in the island will only occasion more violence and bloodshed among both soldiers and civilians.

What Negros needs urgently is poverty alleviation. Hunger does not wait. In the long term, the efficient implementation of a true land reform program is what’s called for, if this country is to move forward.



Convenor, Religious Discernment Group

[email protected]

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