AN EXCEPTION TURNED GENERAL RULE: A Joint Statement by Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Y4HRD) and Young Filipino Advocates of Critical Thinking (yFACTph)
We, the Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Y4HRD) and the Young Filipino Advocates of Critical Thinking (yFACTph), express our utter dismay for yet another extension of military rule in Mindanao. It must be noted that the so-called grounds for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao have long been non-existent; assuming it actually did exist in the first place. We must also be reminded that for a declaration of Martial Law to be valid and justifiable, a real threat or an actual rebellion must first exist.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, in many of its statements, recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao to combat “lurking threats of terrorism.”
We reiterate our position that the extension of military rule in Mindanao is not only unnecessary, but also cruel and arbitrary in itself. The presence of the military in the region only creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. The people of Marawi, the thousands of displaced people, the indigenous people who are targets of human rights violations, and the neighboring provinces in Mindanao deserve peace and stability made possible by a civilian government.
The government must stop making martial law the general rule. It must remain an exception – only to be declared in extraordinary circumstances warranted by the Philippine Constitution. This, if the government still believes in the Rule of Law.
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