Tag Archives: Martial Law in Mindanao

[In the news] Petition at SC vs martial law cites AFP intel report -INQUIRER.net

Petition at SC vs martial law cites AFP intel report

“Only in the Philippines does rebellion exist without a single rebel.”

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a member of the opposition in the House of Representatives, said this yesterday as he countered President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that “rebellion persists in Mindanao” to justify the third extension of Proclamation No. 216 that imposed martial law over the island.

Lagman said Duterte’s claim was repudiated in a report by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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[From the web] Martial Law in Mindanao: With No Security Briefing, Why Extend? -CMFR

Martial Law in Mindanao: With No Security Briefing, Why Extend?

FOR THE third time, martial law in Mindanao has been extended. A Joint Session of Congress on December 12 extended its effectivity until December 2019 with a total of 235 affirmative votes, 28 negative and one abstention.

In his letter to the 17th Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte said that security assessment by the military and police “highlight certain essential facts which indicate that rebellion still persists in Mindanao and that public safety requires the continuation of martial law in the whole of Mindanao.” He mentioned several armed groups such as the Abu Sayaff, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Daulah Ismaliyah. He also cited the communist insurgency. But several lawmakers argued that no actual rebellion nor other empirical data justified the extension.

Senator Franklin Drilon had proposed in 2017 that security officials report regularly on conditions and implementation of Martial Law. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana agreed this would be done.

CMFR cheers MindaNews for reporting on the failure of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to submit such reports.

Read full article @cmfr-phil.org

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[Statement] A Joint Statement by Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Y4HRD) and Young Filipino Advocates of Critical Thinking (yFACTph)

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.

#NoToMartialLawExtension
#YoungDefendersPH

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[In the news] Congress grants third extension of Mindanao martial law until end of 2019 -CNN Philippines

Congress grants third extension of Mindanao martial law until end of 2019

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — Martial law will remain in Mindanao for another full year from January 1 to December 31, 2019 after Congress on Wednesday granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request.

In the final joint session vote, 235 senators and representatives were for it, 28 were against, and 1 abstained.

Senators Tito Sotto, Gringo Honasan, Ping Lacson, Migz Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Koko Pimentel, JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, and Manny Pacuqiao voted ‘yes.’ Senators Chiz Escudero, Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros voted against, while Senator Ralph Recto was the lone abstention.

In the House of Representatives, 223 voted for the extension and 23 voted ‘no.’

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[In the news] ‘FABRICATED LIES’ | Lumad Group: Stop using Lumad to extend Martial Law -news.tv5.com.ph

‘FABRICATED LIES’ | Lumad Group: Stop using Lumad to extend Martial Law

December 8, 2018 – A group of Lumad students and teachers slammed on Saturday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its “fabricated lies” in order to extend Martial Law in Mindanao.

In a statement, Save Our Schools (SOS) network said the AFP is “twisting the truth” to hide its real agenda to extend military rule over the region.

“The public should know that the AFP is the real terrorist and number one human rights and children’s rights violator!” Eule Rico Bonganay of SOS network and Salinlahi secretary general said.

It also pointed out that the group has documented 535 cases of attacks on Lumad schools under the Duterte administration’s martial law in Mindanao.

“The AFP keep on repeating lies just to make it the truth but the Filipino people are wiser than that. The Filipino public is not buying the AFP’s deviousness. They want us to veer away from their real agenda and that is to extend Martial law in Mindanao and continue with plundering Mindanao’s vast resources,” Bonganay added.

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[Urgent Appeal] Military hounds trade unionists in Mindanao, forcing them to surrender as rebel supporters -CTUHR

Military hounds trade unionists in Mindanao, forcing them to surrender as rebel supporters

On February 13, CTUHR was asked to join a fact-finding mission in Compostela, Compostela Valley (Mindanao) organized by Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc (NLDFI), Kilusang Mayo Uno concerning reports of military asking local trade unionists to surrender as New Peoples Army (NPA) rebel supporters and government crackdown on labour organizations in Compostela, Valley On February 15-19, CTUHR visited Davao city and Compostela Valley and together with local volunteers in the area talked and visited the workers and trade unionists in the area to ascertain the report.

CTUHR is deeply concerned that the military operations which began intensively on January 22, 2018, under the pretext of Martial Law are now directed at workers and trade unionists in the vast foreign- owned banana plantations in Compostela Valley, Southern Mindanao. The military has tagged the unionists and their family members as New Peoples Army (NPA) rebel supporters and asks them to surrender at the military camp of 66th Infantry Battallion- Philippine Army to clear their names. Trade unionists were threatened that if they don’t surrender, the military will file charges against them or run the risk of getting killed. Members of local trade unions from Sumitomo Fruits or SUMIFRU, Shin Sun Tropical Fruits and Freshmax banana plantations are all affiliated with the progressive Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-May First Movement). President Duterte labelled KMU as one of the communist fronts, and tagged the communists as terrorists and now are targets of the government’s anti-terrorism and countger insurgency campaign.

CTUHR thus appeal for your support and solidarity in calling for an immediate end to these military operations that bring the lives and limbs of workers and their families to constant danger and cause them fear and mental anguish. These constant threat against trade unionists not only violates their right to freedom of association, of collective bargaining, of assembly and of expression but also exacerbated the workers’ economic hardships as they are displaced from their jobs and livelihood. In addition, CTUHR also call for support in urging President Duterte to recant or withdraw all statements and orders maligning the trade unions and other progressive organizations lumping them together with communists, terrorists and criminals. The statements as proven to what is happening today, not only in Mindanao but in various parts of the country are being used to `justify’ the harshest persecution, from harassments to extrajudicial killings of those exercising their legitimate rights. To date, 23 workers and trade union organizers were extrajudicially killed in various campaigns of the Duterte administration.

Facts of Incidents; House to house visits, village meetings and orders to surrender

Residents of Brgy San Miguel, Compostela, Compostela Valley recalled that since January 22, 2018, elements from the Bravo Company of 66th IB Philippine Army based in Compostela Valley (Mindanao) went-house to house looking for union members of KMU local union affiliates. Soldiers began conducting area (locally called purok) meetings and asks the trade unionists to present themselves to the Army detachment in the same barangay . The local unions of these plantations are all affiliated with Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)- a militant and progressive labour center.

Residents and members of the trade unions from Sumitomo Fruits Co, Shin Sun Tropical Fruits and Freshmax banana plantations told CTUHR that elements of Bravo Company told them to call out their relatives to surrender, clear their names or get liquidated as they possess a list of NPA supporters in the area. The 66th IBPA alleged that they got the list from members of the NPA during an encounter with the state troops.

However, Mr Lito Catap, a Brgy San Miguel elected village council member assailed the so-called list, when he saw his name and the name of a long-dead relative. He said that they, and his villagemates are now worried as they don’t know who else are included in the list.

Interviewed workers narrated that at the house to house visits and meetings, the military underscored that they are implementing the President (PDuterte) order’s to hunt the communist rebels and supporters as well as their front organizations and KMU is one of the identified fronts of communists. `As you are a member of KMU affiliated union , you are also considered as NPA supporters. And if you gave even a grain of salt or MSG to them (NPA), then you are an NPA sympathizer or supporter.

Welma Pana, 50, a union member working at SUMIFRU’s Packing Plant 250, in Marapat, Compostela Valley for example testified that on January 22, 2018, around 1.30 in the afternoon, five (5) soldiers from the Bravo Company ng 66th IB of Phil. Army barged into her house. One of the soldiers she was able to identify, a certain Pfc Paulino asked her to go to their camp in San Miguel to surrender because they (the workers) have union. Another soldier, whom she was not able to identify asked her why she joined the union and Pana replied that they want to protect themselves and their job. The military told her that she has to come to the camp on January 23 scheduled meeting to surrender. Then the soldier left the house.

Pana did not report to the camp the following day. She knows that she did nothing wrong and nothing to be fearful about being in the workers’ union. She and her family however, is worried about their safety.

Similarly, Melfer Amolian, 32 years old, Union Member, Shin Sun Workers Union (SSWU-NAFLU-KMU) narrated that on January 28, about 6:00 in the morning, his brother in law on order of the village chief Harry Cabiling, reported to the Bravo company of the 66th IB PA in San Miguel, Compostela, Compostela Valley to surrender and clear his name. He then followed to the detachment 30 minutes later, and a soldier on civilian clothes who did not say his name asked him why did he join the union and what is the money that they are collecting for, if they are for the NPA? Marvin responded that the money is for the union and for the ongoing union strike. He also saw the list of names that the soldiers want them to surrender. The soldier pressed him about the activities he joined which he admitted to having participated in the march and workers’ camp-out in Manila last year, and then asked for the whereabouts of Arman Blasé. Blasé is a full-time NAFLU union organizer, Amolian said, he does not know where Blasé is. The soldiers coaxed him that it is really better to surrender, to clear his name and asked him to sign a logbook. He was not sure of what kind of logbook was that but sure that he is listed as rebel surrenderee.

The same situation also happened to other union members from Freshmax, a sister company of Shin Sun Tropical Fruits.

It can be recalled that on June 2, 2017, more than a week after Martial Law was declared in Mindanao, the military violently dispersed the striking Shin Sun Tropical Fruits workers protesting illegal dismissal, underpayment, violations of other labor standards and contractualization. At the dispersal the military was caught saying that `this is Martial Law and we don’t honor the Labor Code in local language’ when workers asserted that the military has no right to intervene in the labour dispute. At the dispersal, eight (8) men and women workers including a child were arrested. A Korean owner of Shin Sun Tropical Fruits ran away to escape from her legal obligations to the workers. The case is still pending at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

There are other workers who have given their testimonies and complained that they are all worrying about their safety and security. Out of fear, they present themselves to the military camp, but they worry further that they are now listed as rebel surenderees.

In other parts of Mindanao, repression of people’s rights is also raging. On September 28, 2017, Reneboy Magayano, 50, an agricultural worker and chairperson of Maragusan Workers Association was extrajudicially killed by suspected agents of 66th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) on his way to Maragusan Public Market in Compostela Valley to buy fish. On November 29, 2017, Lando Moreno, an oil palm worker in Filipinas Palm Plantation in Agusan del Sur, was also killed by combined company suspected goons and guards, and the police who was nearby the area was not able to apprehend the assailant.

The FFM team visited the military camp, accompanied by the Brgy Capt (village chair) Harry Cabiling to hold a dialogue but they were not entertained. Cabiling was summoned inside the camp. The village chair was left inside the camp until the Team left the camp an hour later. The residents noted that the village chair was also sending his council members to summon residents to voluntarily present themselves to the military at the camp.

Recommendations:

Please send letters, emails or fax messages of concerns calling for:

1. An end to the targeting, harassment, and intimidation of unionists, labor rights defenders, development workers, human rights defenders, and members and leaders of progressive organizations;

2. An immediate withdrawal of President Duterte’s statements labeling KMU and other progressive organizations as enemies of the state which encourages State security forces to threaten, harass, arbitrarily and illegally arrest or suspected kill the targets;

3. Relocation of the detachment of 66th IB-PA of AFP away from the civilian populace.

4. The Philippine Government to adhere and uphold the ILO Convention 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and ILO Convention 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining) to adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments to which the Philippines is a signatory. 5. Resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front and work towards the advancement of socio-economic reforms that include both labour and land issues of workers and farmers;

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph or send message through
http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/

Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: info@dnd.gov.ph, webmaster@dnd.gov.ph

Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: communications@doj.gov.ph

Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

Hon. Jesus Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Email: stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph, feedback@opapp.net

Hon. Silvestre Bello III
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor, DOLE Building, Intramuros, Manila
Direct Line: (+632) 527-5523. 527-2121
Fax No: (+632) 527-3494.
Email: secshb3@dole.gov.ph, osec@dole.gov.ph.

Please send us a copy to:
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Inc (CTUHR)
702 Culmat Bldg, 127 E Rodriguez Sr Avenue
Quezon city Philippines
Telefax: (+632) 4110256
Email: ctuhr.pilipinas@gmail.com
Website: http://www.ctuhr.org
Fb: ctuhr.manila

http://ctuhr.org/urgent-appeals-military-hounds-trade-unionists-in-mindanao-forcing-them-to-surrender-as-rebel-supporters/

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[Statement] Explanataion of No-Vote to extension of Martial Law -Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat

Explanataion of No-Vote to extension of Martial Law -Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat

Photo from House of Representatives

I vote against the extension and expansion of Martial Law in Mindanao. The reason is simple. Because extending Martial Law makes us violators of the Constitution that we swore to uphold.

The criteria for the extension of the period of martial law are clear in the Constitution. First, that an invasion or rebellion persists. Second, that public safety requires the extension.

To say that either of these conditions exists is to say that the administration is lying to the Filipino people. It is to concede that the government is not in control, and the civilian government no longer functions effectively. These are clearly not the case.

While it may be the perception that many Mindanaoans want Martial Law to continue — a disputable presumption that has not even been empirically established – there are times when the correct choice is the unpopular or politically untenable option, simply because it is the legal thing to do and the right thing to do.

With the siege in Marawi over, and the government clearly in command, there is simply no Constitutional basis to extend Martial Law. There will always be threats to peace and order, but the Executive branch already has a wide array of deterrents short of Martial Law to foil these threats. All it takes are intelligence and compassion, attributes that, we are told, are not lacking in the administration.

The challenge now is to rebuild Marawi and restore normalcy to the lives of our fellow Filipinos there. We need to mobilize social services and civil works; we need to bring in teachers and doctors. Martial Law hardly seems the proper response.

To my colleagues in Congress, the Constitution has set specifications for the extension of Martial Law. Those specifications are absent in Mindanao. We cannot demean our offices more than we already have by inventing grounds where none exist. If we do, then we give an undeserved meaning to the term “Lower House”.

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[Statement] Reclaim, Defend and Promote Human Rights for All at All Times -A Declaration of the Mindanao-wide Conference against Martial Law

Reclaim, Defend and Promote Human Rights for All at All Times
A Declaration of the Mindanao-wide Conference against Martial Law

We, the 103 Bangsamoro, Mindanao Migrants and Indigenous People delegates of the Mindanao Conference Against Martial Law representing 44 organizations coming from different provinces of Mindanao, have gathered together to discuss our situation and come-up with collective actions to address the challenges that we and our communities are currently facing. We are farmers, fisherfolks, urban poor, workers, youth, women, OFW, LGBT, PWD, church, religious and spiritual leaders, elderly, who are human rights defenders, peace builders and humanitarian workers working to contribute in building an inclusive, just and dignified society.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s one and a half years in office is characterized with impunity borne out of his “war on illegal drugs and anti-terrorism policy”. In fact, such state policy on illegal drugs has left more than 13,000 people dead, including significant number of youth and children, most of whom were coming from the poor and unemployed sectors of the society leaving behind thousands of widows and orphans. This administration has remained consistent in instilling fear, culture of silence and passivity. Human rights defenders are threatened and persecuted – a step paving towards the establishment of an authoritarian regime.

Further, his administration has distorted the very essence and concept of human rights which led to the confusion, division and further exposure of the people to more vulnerabilities and insecurities. This disregard to human rights can be seen in his proposals to lower the maximum age of criminal responsibility from fifteen (15) to nine (9) years old and the re-imposition of death penalty. This is compounded with his sexist and derogatory remarks towards women.

In Mindanao, the failed arrest operation of the leader of Abu Sayyaf and ISIS-inspired Maute group has led to a 5-month war between extremists and the government security sector in Marawi City. This has emanated from the total failure of the military intelligence which paved the way to the declaration of Martial Law in the whole islands of Mindanao.

This encounter displaced more than 500,000 individuals from Marawi City and the neighboring towns, practically turning the Islamic City into a battlefield resulting to the deaths of civilians and fighting parties and destruction of properties. The fighting in Maranao land is an attack to the very core of the Maranao people as they were forcibly uprooted from their homes; their cultural heritage destroyed leaving them not only physically and economically displaced but also emotionally, psychologically, and socio-culturally in deep pain.

The Martial law declaration resulted to incidences of warrantless arrests, torture, illegal searches of the houses of internally displaced persons, and disappearances. Aside from inadequate response of the government to the needs of the IDPs, the depressing situation of the displaced persons in the evacuation centers and host communities have exposed the women and children to higher risk of gender-based violence such as sexual abuse compounding their multiple burden in addition to their domestic responsibilities.

In other areas in Mindanao, warrantless searches and arrests, planting of evidence, militarization and crackdown on suspected members of the communist rebels in Indigenous Peoples’ communities are also taking place aside from singling out of Moros at checkpoints.

His one-sided and oftentimes confusing position on the peace processes has put uncertainty on the hopes and aspirations for peace of the people of Mindanao and the whole country, in general. This uncertainty has fueled more frustrations and desperation from the peace-loving peoples of Mindanao especially that many pinned their hopes on him, being the first Mindanaon president. His militarist approach in solving the problem in Marawi and other places in Mindanao can surely encourage the rise of new groups with more extreme and fundamentalist tendencies that usually recruit child soldiers. This militarist approach extends even on the way he plans and executes the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Marawi. Unless there is genuine and active participation of the peoples especially the affected population in addressing the problems, these problems cannot be meaningfully and sustainably be resolved.

Above all, President Duterte has fallen short to substantially institute reforms that would effectively address poverty and marginalization- situations that beset many parts of the country for decades providing fertile ground for illegal drugs and terrorism to flourish especially in Mindanao. He, instead, sided with the ruling class and oligarchs abandoning his promises to end contractualization, providing free tuition fees, end to extractive and exploitative industries, distributing land to farmers, and returning coco levy funds to the coconut farmers for the development of coconut industry. All these proved his allegiance to neo-liberal economy- a clear betrayal of the peoples who trusted him.

As part of the social movements, we believe that development can be realized without jeopardizing the right of peoples and individuals. Rather, we believe that development must lead to the fulfillment of human rights and realization of the full human potential which is a state obligation.

Given all these issues and challenges, we, human rights defenders, peace builders and humanitarian workers call for:

– Respect and uphold Human Rights at all times;
– Resist and oppose all threats to human rights by strongly and collectively calling for an end to Martial Law and threat of Authoritarianism;
– Justice to the victims of all extra judicial killings, whether in the war against illegal drugs and/or political killings:
– For government to shift from its policy of killing drug addicts, instead, address the root cause of the problem in a more comprehensive approach by looking at the drug trading business, economic deprivation and public health issues among the poor, security of everyone; and safeguard the future of the young generation both addicts and non-addicts by eliminating drug addiction.

We reiterate our call for a peaceful resolution to conflicts. Thus, we add our voice to the support of all peace processes. In all these processes, we demand for the genuine participation of communities and peoples

We express our solidarity with the Maranaw people as they rebuild their lives with dignity. genuine democratic participation of the Maranaws in the process of rebuilding their torn physical, social, cultural and psychological well being;

As we envision a society that is human rights-centered, democratic, gender sensitive and responsive, sustainable, inclusive and just, empowered & resilient and sustainable communities, and life with dignity, we resolutely commit to reclaim, defend and promote human rights for all at all times. Linked to this is our commitment to defend the environment and all resources vital to the survival and sustenance of human life and of the right to healthy, safe and sustainable ecology. To this end, we strongly encourage and support to strengthen people’s-led and centered initiatives as our alternatives to the prevailing dominant neoliberal economic development paradigm.

Signed this 11th day of November 2017 in Cotabato City.

Signatories:
– Alliance of the Tri-People for the Advancement of Human Rights (ALTAHR)
– Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan (AKMK)
– Alyansa nga mga Mamamayan para sa Karapatang Pantao (AMKP)
– ALAMADA OFW Association
– Bukidnon Organic Farmers Association (BOFA)
– Coalition of Lanao Utility Transport for Change (CLUTCH)
– Convergence of NGOs and POs in Zamboanga del Sur for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CONZARRD)
– Demokratikong Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Lanao (DKMP – Lanao)
– Electoral Reforms and Development Assistance Center, Inc. (ERDAC)
– Gempa Te Kelindaan Ne Kamal
– Inged Fintailan
– Initiatives and Movement for Gender Liberation Against Discrimination (IMGLAD)
– Kaagapay OFW Resource and Service Center, Inc. (Kaagapay OFW Center)
– Kagkalimwa OFW Federation
– Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma ug Mamumuong Kababayenhan sa Kabanikanhan (KASAMAKA)
– Kahugpungan sa mga Mangingisda sa Kolambugan (KASAMAKO)
– Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma ug Mangingisda sa Zamboanga del Sur (KAMAGMASUR)
– Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan (KILOS KA)
– Lambangian People’s Organization (LPO)
– Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Inc. (LAHRA)
– Lanao Aquatic and Marine Fisheries Center for Community Development, Inc. (LAFCCOD)
– Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK)
– Lig-ong Hiniusang Kusog sa Kabus (LIHUK)
– Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM)
– Mindanao Tri-People Women Resource Center, Inc. (MTWRC)
– Mindanao Tri-People Youth Center, Inc. (MTPYC)
– Multi-stakeholder’s Initiatives for Humanitarian Action against Disasters (MIHANDS)
– Mindanao Indigenous People Initiative for Research and Assistance Center (MIPIRAC)
– Nagkahiusang Mangingisda Alang sa Kalambuan sa Sultan Naga Dimaporo (NAMANGKA)
– Nagkahiusang Mangingisda sa Illana Bay (NAMAIBAY)
– Nagkahiusang Mag-uumang Organiko (NAMAO)
– Nagkahiusang Organisasyong sa mga Mangingisda sa Tubod ug Baroy (NOMATUB)
– Pagilidan Farmers and Fisherfolks Organizations for Unity and Development (PFOUD)
– Poloy-poloy Farmers Association (POFA)
– Ranaw Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Assistance Center, Inc. (RDRRAC)
– Ranao Women and Children Resource Center, Inc. (RWCRC)
– Sumpay Mindanao, Inc. (SMI)
– Teduray and Lambangian Youth and Students Association (TLYSA)
– Tri-People Organization Against Disasters Foundation, Inc. (TRIPOD)
– Tri-people Youth for Change (TRYChange)
– Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG)
– Task Force Tigil Mina (TFTM)
– Umpungan nu mga Babay sa Bagua 2 (UBB2)
– Ummah Development Foundation, Inc. (UDFI)

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[Statement] Martial Law Imposition Inauguration of Duterte’s Dictatorial Rule -KILUSAN

Martial Law Imposition
Inauguration of Duterte’s Dictatorial Rule
(Kilusan analysis and position on ML)

In just one week the critical situation in Marawi City has subsided. The military has cleared 90% of the city. The remaining Maute fighters are holed in a small area in the center of the city and are holding around 200 hostages, including a Catholic priest, Fr. Teresito Suganob. Even with such tragedies like the wayward bomb that killed 11 soldiers, it is seen that soon Marawi City would be back to normal.

Despite this, Duterte is not considering lifting martial law soon, instead he is thinking of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayan regions.

It is finally out; Proclamation No. 216 was Rodrigo Duterte’s lone act. On the basis of information from sources that only Duterte knows, unverified and false news, his wild mind created a rebellious and secessionist situation in Marawi City. This scenario was drawn from a security operation by military and police elements who were on a mission to capture Abu Sayyaf leader, Isnilon Hapilon at around 2PM of May 23. The wanted man, with $5M reward for his head, was sighted earlier, together with around 15 armed guards in Barangay Basak Malulut, Marawi City.

The operation failed as the armed bodyguards of Hapilon, believed to members of the local terrorist Maute Group were able to resist and the situation worsened. The Maute group and the military sent-in reinforcements. The Maute fighters were estimated to have reached from 50 – 100 men, but the military and police had overwhelming superiority in number and arms.

This was the kind of situation that Duterte warned earlier, could “push” him to declare martial law. Indeed, Duterte seized the opportunity. He painted a picture of armed uprising from a situation that was declared under control by the military, police and local government by late in the evening.

The key word to create this picture is the alleged “ISIS links of the Maute Group”. Despite official intelligence reports saying there is no basis to establish this allegation, Duterte proceeded to compose Proclamation No 216, declaring a “state of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao”.

Right after martial law declaration was announced by Duterte’s spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in Moscow, Russia, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told media, “only Duterte knows about the ISIS connection, but nevertheless we have to help the president now”.

Based on a tale of conflicting real and false news and lies

A few hours before the announcement of martial law declaration, National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon and Defense Sec. Lorenzana told media in Moscow, “The situation in Marawi is under control”.

Despite this and official reports that the situation in Marawi City was under control, reports and rumors of unverified, false and real incidents from 2pm to around 9 pm of May 23 were summed up by Duterte to provide the basis for martial law proclamation as, …“thereby attempting to remove from the allegiance of the Philippine Government that part of Mindanao and deprive the Chief Executive of his powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao, constituting the crime of rebellion;, and,”

“WHEREAS, this attempt shows the capability of the Maute Group and other rebel groups to sow terror and cause death and damage to property not only in Lanao del Sur but in other parts of Mindanao.”

One hour after the proclamation, AFP public affairs chief, Col. Edgard Arevalo announced, the situation in Marawi has “stabilized” and “security forces are in full control“. The AFP made clear that the forces they were facing are not members of ISIS but of a local terrorist group. Arevalo also warned, “The news being circulated by these terrorists and their sympathizers are spurious and are meant to spread lies and disinformation. It is propaganda to attract foreign terrorists’ support and recognition.” This seemed to be also a warning to Duterte.

The spokesperson also belied reports that Amai Pakpak Hospital and the Marawi City Hall was occupied by Maute Group members.

It was proven during and after Duterte’s press conference upon his arrival from Russia, the incidents mentioned in the proclamation did not actually happen, specifically the “occupation of Amai Pakpak Hospital” and “burning of government facilities”. Another wrong information that Duterte blurted before media was the “killing and beheading” by Maute terrorist of Malabang Police Chief, Romeo Enriquez.

Nonetheless, Duterte also told, in less than 24 hours since martial law in Mindanao was proclaimed while he was in Russia, that his martial law would cover the whole country even if mere sign or clue of terrorist presence in Visayas and Luzon is established.

Despite all the boo-boos and dis-information contained in Proclamation no. 216 and the President’s report on martial law, the leaders of both houses of Congress, who are proving themselves as Duterte’s minions, were hell-bent not to fulfill their constitutional duty to review the martial law proclamation. Instead they passed separate resolutions, the house by viva voce voting and the senate through the majority bloc excluding two, supporting Duterte’s martial law.

They are dangerously clearing the way for Duterte’s obsession for absolute rule that could spell the closure or the transformation of Congress as Duterte’s “rubber stamp”, as the leaders of the legislature are proving now

Duterte’s inauguration of his own brand of dictatorial rule

Other than Duterte himself, the subservience of leaders of Congress to Duterte’s dictates and whims is the greatest threat to democracy and the rights of the Filipino people, presently. It is ironical now that more than the command of the AFP, the leaders of Congress are ready to abandon their duties and violate the 1987 Constitution.

The AFP has been more objective and prudent with their statements so as not to create fear and send wrong message about the real situation. The DND and AFP have been consistently referring to the terrorist Maute Group as “ISIS inspired” not “ISIS-linked” as Duterte asserts and that soon the situation in Marawi will be back to normal”, implying therefore that martial law should be lifted soon.

They assure the public that the AFP “will enforce its mandate in accordance with the laws and with respect to human rights and the International Humanitarian Law.” The AFP command, as exemplified by the statement of Western Mindanao Command, consistently refers to the 1987 Constitution unlike Duterte who deliberately rejects it.

In the Facebook Live interview by Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary, Mocha Uson on his way back to Manila from Moscow, “my martial law will be no different from Marcos’ martial law. I will be harsh”.

This statement is unmindful of the fact that the 1987 Constitution states, the constitution operates even during martial law. Specifically the Constitution states that warrantless arrest is not absolute when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.

The most telling of Duterte’s disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution were his latest talks before soldiers and officers in Iligan City, on May 26 and in Jolo, on May 27.

The resistance to martial law is left on the people

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya [KILUSAN]
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[From the web] Martial Law Threatens Escalation of Abuses Duterte Places Mindanao Under Military Rule, Suspends Habeas Corpus -HRW

Philippines: Martial Law Threatens Escalation of Abuses
Duterte Places Mindanao Under Military Rule, Suspends Habeas Corpus

(New York, May 26, 2017) – The Philippine government’s declaration of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao threatens to widen the scope of abuses under President Rodrigo Duterte, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 23, 2017, the Duterte administration declared martial law and suspended habeas corpus after the Islamist armed group Maute attacked Marawi City and killed three security force officers and burned several buildings, including a hospital and a school. Maute fighters reportedly took a priest and several others hostage.

The imposition of martial law in the midst of Duterte’s “war on drugs,” in which more than 7,000 people have been killed since June, raises grave concerns of ever-widening human rights violations in the country, Human Rights Watch said. The day following the declaration, Duterte told the media, “Martial law is martial law. It will not be any different from what the president, [Ferdinand] Marcos did. I’d be harsh.” He later said that he “might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

“Duterte’s martial law threatens military abuses in Mindanao that could rival the murderous ‘drug war’ in urban areas,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s crucial that the country’s security forces abide by international law at all times and hold rights violators to account.”

Placing Mindanao under martial law empowers the Philippine military to supersede civilian authorities in enforcing the law. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the military will have “control of movement, searches and arrest of detained people, [and] suspension of writ of habeas corpus.” On May 24, the Department of National Defense appropriately issued a statement that all military personnel are “enjoined that the rule of law and human rights should prevail” wherever martial law is in effect.

In 1972, then-President Marcos imposed martial law and suspended habeas corpus throughout the Philippines, which facilitated widespread abuses by the military and other security forces, including detention without charge, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. These abuses did not end when martial law was lifted in early 1981. The 1987 Philippine Constitution, which was drafted after Marcos’s overthrow during the “people power” revolution in 1986, places restrictions on the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, as well as on their implementation.

Article VII, section 18 of the Constitution empowers the president in the event of “invasion or rebellion” to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus for up to 60 days. A majority of members of both houses of Congress can revoke – or extend – the proclamation or suspension without the president’s approval.

Also under section 18, the Supreme Court may review a case brought by any citizen contesting the factual basis for martial law, and must hand down its decision within 30 days.

The Constitution also provides some important due process protections during martial law, Human Rights Watch said. A state of martial law does not suspend the Constitution, nor replace the functioning of the civil courts or Congress. It only permits military courts to try civilians when civil courts are unable to function. Suspension of habeas corpus applies only to people judicially charged for rebellion or offenses linked to invasion, and those arrested or detained must still be charged by the courts within three days or be released.

Maute and the Islamist armed group Abu Sayyaf threaten the security of people in parts of Mindanao, Human Rights Watch said. Both groups have pledged support to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). However, the imposition of martial law throughout Mindanao for at least 60 days could also affect the Philippine armed forces’ handling of other armed conflicts on the island, including with the communist New People’s Army and various Moro insurgent groups.

Expanding the military’s legal authority in these conflicts opens the door to increased human rights violations against civilians, including leftist activists, indigenous leaders, and environmental activists, who have long been targets of military abuses.

“The Philippine government has a responsibility to protect the population from armed militants, but gaining the backing of affected people means abiding by the rule of law,” Kine said. “Martial law is not a free pass for abuse.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/asia/philippines

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/26/philippines-martial-law-threatens-escalation-abuses

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[Statement] Martial Law in Mindanao: Duterte’s War on Peace -SANLAKAS

Martial Law in Mindanao: Duterte’s War on Peace

On May 23, 2017, clashes erupted between militants belonging to Maute Group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), and the government security forces in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. This escalated to the burning of schools and establishments including a Catholic Church and the taking of hostages that included a priest and worshippers. Within hours, President Rodrigo Duterte, who was on official visit to Russia, placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law by issuing Proclamation 216.

Immediately the next day, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared that the situation was under control. But even with this declaration, Duterte, upon his arrival from Russia, not only threatened to be harsh in the exercise of his martial law powers which he likened to that of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s, he threatened to plunge the rest of the country under military control.

But there is more to Marawi than just quashing a much-hyped terrorist incursion.

Government troops were not in Marawi in an offensive military operation against Maute. Rather, they were there to capture Abu Sayyaf leader, Isnilon Hapilon, one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI’s) most wanted with a $5M bounty on his head. What should have been an arrest setup developed into a large-scale military operation. The scenario brings to mind the events of January 2015, infamously tagged as the Mamasapano Tragedy, where the pursuit to capture Zulkifli Abd Hir aka Marwan, also in the FBI Most Wanted List, left a bloody trail in its aftermath and imperiled the fragile peace negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government. In both instances, US interests seem to be the underpinning impetus – to arrest individuals under its Most Wanted List in its continuing War on Terror. It would seem that once again, the Philippine Government placed its security forces at the behest of US War on Terror.

Hundreds are now fleeing Marawi seeking refuge in nearby areas. But flight from the staccato of gunfire and explosions in the City will not guarantee security or safety. The Mindanao-wide imposition of martial law legitimizes wholesale and widespread human rights violations arising from warrantless arrests and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Using Marawi as a pretext, Duterte has threatened to impose martial law in Visayas and Mindanao.

With the excesses and abuses committed by police authorities in Duterte’s War against Drugs, the military solution to the Marawi crisis does not provide reassurance nor the semblance of security. Our grim historical experience should restrain the Commander-in-Chief from being quick to impose Martial Law. Characterizing it to be at par with the the Marcosian military rule only fans the fears and misgivings as to the adherence to the constitutional limitations to its implementation – faithfulness to due process, rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and warrantless arrests and detention, among others. Note that Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution strictly confines the basis for the declaration of Martial Law to only two grounds: (1) when there is invasion or rebellion, and (2) when public safety requires it. Covering up a failed anti-terrorist operation is not one of the grounds.

At a time when the Government has yet to compensate all Martial Law victims under the Marcos Dictatorship as mandated under Republic Act (RA) 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition At of 2013, it is disturbing that we have another Martial Law in Mindanao declared by the country’s first Mindanaoan President.

Martial Law is incongruent to the on-going peace talks between the Government and the MILF-Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and between the Government and the New People’s Army (NPA), as known strongholds of the rebel groups face impending militarization with the enforcement of Duterte’s 60-day Martial Law. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana justified the imposition of Martial Law to resolve security problems in Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawitawi and Central Mindanao which are not only limited to terrorism but also encompass insurgency.

Sanlakas calls for the immediate lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao and for the Duterte Government to desist from liberally exercising its martial prerogatives to further its security agenda. While to the Government, mobilizing the military and militarizing its anti-terrorism campaign may seem the most expedient option, to the ordinary citizen, especially in conflict-ravaged areas of Mindanao, it means sparking renewed armed tensions, clashes and instability. It means displacement of communities and families. It means igniting anti-Moro sentiments. It means undermining peace in Mindanao by waging war against it.

 

End Martial Law in Mindanao!
No to Martial Law!
Oppose fascist rule!
No to US War on Terror!
Defend and uphold people’s rights!

Contact Person:

Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary-General, SANLAKAS
Cell. No.:+639275924830
Email Add: aaron_pedrosa@yahoo.com

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[Statement] Lift the Martial Law Now, CTUHR urges the President

Lift the Martial Law Now, CTUHR urges the President

It is now more than a week since Martial Law was declared in the whole of Mindanao to eliminate the Maute group which was initially estimated by the military as just about a hundred. The AFP has announced that probably only 30-40 Maute group members are remaining. There are even a number who surrendered. Yet, the military offensive and the so-called aerial surgical bombings that have heavily destroyed Marawi have not weakened. In fact, there are several more armored tanks that were brought in according to reports. Both President Duterte and AFP spokesperson Gen. Restituto Padilla have openly declared that even if the Maute group has been decimated, the Martial Law will not be lifted. It could even be extended and may include other areas in the Visayas, they said.

This is extremely alarming. The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) joins the many in opposing Martial Law declaration and the suspenstion of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao. This is not to belittle the horror and damage that Maute group has inflicted in Marawi city and the terror it has caused in the entire country. CTUHR stands with Marawi and the people of Mindanao in condemning in the highest term, the terrorism that plague the island, that is often exploited to justify the war, be it counter-insurgency or counter-terror that the state is waging with its full might, leaving only more displaced, terrorized, hungrier and impoverished population. Except for the businessmen, who see Martial Law as an opportunity to operate their businesses peacefully, ordinary people are horrified.

CTUHR calls for the immediate lifting of Martial Law and urges the President to stop insinuating that any human rights violations, including rape committed by the military on the ground under Martial Law will be tolerated, as he himself will be accountable. There is nothing to joke or to be sarcastic about rape. This only emboldens the military to do what they see fit to the detriment of people’s rights. This is also a tacit declaration that the lives of innocents considered by this administration as collateral damage are insignificant in the name of anti-terrorism offensive.

CTUHR also views that military offensive and aerial bombings were uncalled for as destruction and thousands of displaced people running for their lives unfold in our very eyes. Damages created by bombings have what residents noted obliterated what they had gained from the years of hard work. It could be recalled that last year, Maute group members also figured in several bombings, including the one in Davao city night market that killed 14 people. But in all incidents, the President and the AFP were proud that they were able to arrest those responsible only in 10 days. Why declare Martial law?

Gen. Padilla and President Duterte have the answers that raise more alarm. That Martial Law will target all groups, terrorists, criminals, drugs syndicates, and rebels including the New People’s Army. Prior to suspension, the government is negotiating peace with the MNLF, MILF and NDF that Martial law is now targeting. In fact, outside Marawi, such as in Compostela Valley, soldiers are capitalizing Martial Law in the conduct of Oplan Kapayapaan counter-insurgency program threatening striking workers at Shin Shun banana plantation to end their strike, lest they be arrested. Martial Law would only worsen the human rights violations in the areas resulting from longtime militarization in the area.

The terrorism and state counter-terrorism in the past, inflicted particularly in Mindanao, bred only disgruntled, at times desperate people who one hand, became easy targets of terrorist groups to espouse their cause, or on the other, chose to defend their rights and survival by organizing themselves into legitimate community and peoples’ organizations. This condition was used to escalate war and to ask for so called needed US military support for training, intelligence, arms and troops. It became a vicious cycle, that did not work and only left a war-torn Mindanao that only `oligarchs’ the President wants to chase are happy with their mining and other investments thriving amidst war against the people. It will not work now. As Mindanaon himself, President Duterte should know better.###

Reference:
Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director
Contact number: 0916 248 4876
http://ctuhr.org/lift-the-martial-law-now-ctuhr-urges-the-president/

Press Statement
02 June 2017

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[Statement] Women Call to Stop the Bombings in Marawi, Revoke Martial Law in Mindanao, as both Aggravate Violence Against Women

Women Call to Stop the Bombings in Marawi,
Revoke Martial Law in Mindanao, as both Aggravate Violence Against Women

Photo by World March of Women

June 3, the World March of Women calls for 24 Hours of Feminist Solidarity Action around the world for peace.

Women leaders from the World March of Women, Kaisa Ka, SENTRO, Focus on the Global South, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), Center for Migrant Advocacy, Batis – AWARE, WomanHealth Phils., Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), and Bagong Kamalayan staged tableaus this morning at Plaza Miranda to dramatize the impact of wars and militarism. They called for truth about what’s happening in Marawi and Mindanao to come out and for perpetrators of violence to be pursued, and not find excuses in these events to declare Martial Law.

Around 130 persons have been killed, thousands trapped, in Marawi City and tens of thousands more displaced following a botched military operation to capture Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. Martial Law was declared all over Mindanao, and President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly warned about expanding it to the rest of the country.

“Martial Law is never the answer as we have seen its horrors for decades in the past,” according to Jean Enriquez, Philippine Coordinator of the World March of Women – Marche Mondiale des Femmes – Marcha Mundial Mujeres. “Already, vulnerable Moro populations in Davao who do not have birth certificates nor identification cards, have been rounded up following the declaration of Martial Law,” added Enriquez.

“The real possibility of a state of martial law being utilized for counter-insurgency and the suppression of civil liberties, including workers’ and trade union rights, is a well-founded fear of our people due to our two-decade experience of dictatorship under Marcos,” said Mary Jane Mora Labongray, SENTRO-Women Coordinator.

Virginia Lacsa Suarez, President of Kaisa Ka, strongly criticized the President for his rape remark. “The Commander-in-Chief even exhorted and cajoled soldiers to exercise their martial law powers, assuring them that he would answer for those who may be accused of committing abuses and other crimes, including rape,” said Lacsa.

The group reminded the public how wars and militarism have always targeted the bodies of the sexually objectified and those considered to be most vulnerable—the women. Thus prostitution, rape, forced migration, and all forms of violence against women are multiplied exponentially as bodies of women are considered to be weapons of war against perceived enemies.

“Martial Law aggravates the vulnerability of Lumads, Muslims to different forms of discrimination and violence,” added Judy Afan Pasimio of Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights).

The group also scored super power nations that produce armaments and sell to countries where they have strong economic interests. “The Trump government is further boosting its war industry, is urging NATO countries and his allies in Asia to raise their military budgets and to join him in more wars against what they consider as primary threats to global security,” Lacsa added.

“Before the existence of Martial Law gets normalized; before violation of human rights, which is one of the first casualties under this situation, become more rampant and intensify, we must give all our efforts toward resisting all these attempts solidify again authoritarianism in our country,” remarked Clarissa Villasin Militante of Focus On The Global South.

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[Statement] Our call on the Emergency Crisis in Marawi City Condemn Violence! Protect Civilians! Uphold Human Rights at all times!

Our call on the Emergency Crisis in Marawi City
Condemn Violence! Protect Civilians!
Uphold Human Rights at all times!
May 24, 2017

Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon of 23 May 2017, gunfight between armed men (suspected Maute Group allegedly ISIS sympathizer) and the elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) erupted in public places in Marawi City putting civilian population hostage in the situation. As the violence intensifies, civilian population are exposed to higher risk of being killed or injured.  In fact, reports have noted that the gunfight has already claimed 3 lives, wounded 12 other individuals, abducted church leaders, held civilians hostage, occupied hospital and burned and destroyed properties as of midnight of May 23.

We, in the tri-people peace and human rights movements express our strong condemnation of this violence. We are deeply saddened that this atrocity has happened especially in times like this when our Muslim brothers and sisters are about to observe in three (3) days’ time the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

In this regard,

We call on all parties involved to stop the hostilities and atrocities in Marawi City;

We call on the warring groups not to use civilians as shields and free all public places from hostile actions and armed confrontations; avoid indiscriminate firing, bombing and shelling; observe compliance to the international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement in the conduct of the operations;

We call for the government to exert all efforts to ensure the safety and protection of the civilians now trapped in the midst of the current emergency crisis; involve and make civilian communities, not just mere passive recipients, but, as part and integral in coming up solution to end this crisis;

Particularly, we ask the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to maximize the existing peace processes and mechanisms to help arrest the emergency situation;

We call on the religious leaders, council of elders, community leaders and all state and non-state peace actors to intervene and demand for the protection of lives, properties and communities; to lead in maintaining sobriety, critical mind, and prevent inciting religious and cultural biases out of this situation;

We call on humanitarian organizations and agencies to immediately respond to the needs of affected populations;

The current government’s response in Placing Mindanao under Martial law will not solve the current situation instead it will only further the violence and curtailment of civilian and community rights to peace and life. Suspension of the legal remedies specifically the Writ of Habeas Corpus would further put the communities and civil societies in a vulnerable situation- a lesson we have learned from the terror of Marcos era. Thus, we demand to the Philippine Congress not to support the declaration of Martial Law and must uphold the supremacy of civilian and the Philippine constitution instead;

As peacebuilders and human rights defenders, we viewed this direct violence as result of governments’ neglect in fulfilling the rights and entitlements of its peoples which can be responded to without using arms and violence.

Despite this situation, we appeal to the general public to continue building the infrastructure of peace by strengthening solidarity towards each other, intensify our efforts to build harmonious relationship between and among peoples, strengthen our convictions to build communities of justpeace where respect, social justice and co-existence inspire us all. Let us continue propagating the seeds of understanding and mutual respect we have nurtured for quite some time already.

Signed by:

Alliance of the Tri-People for the Advancement of Human Rights (ALTAHR)
Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan (AKMK)
AKMK Young Women
Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Karapatang Pantao (AMKP)
Association of OFW Children-Maguindanao-Cotabato
Coalition of Lanao Utility Transport for Change (CLUTCH)
Convergence of NGOs and POs in Zamboanga del Sur for Rural Development, Inc (CONZARRD)
Demokratikong Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (DKMP) – Lanao
Electoral Reforms and Development Assistance Center, Inc (ERDAC)
Erumanen Ne Menuvu Kamal
Federation of Democratic Labor Organizations (FDLO)
Inged Fintailan
Interfaith Movement for Clean and Peaceful Election (IM4PeaCe)
International Institute for Research and Education
Kaagapay OFW Resource and Service Center, Inc (Kaagapay OFW)
Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma ug Mamumuong Kababayen-an alang sa Kalambuan (KASAMMA KA)
Kagkalimwa OFW Federation
Kahugpungan sa mga Mangingisda sa Kolambugan (KASAMA KO)
Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan (KILOS KA)
Kilusan ng mga Mamamayan para sa Pagbabago ng Bayan (Kilos Bayan)
Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (LAHRA)
Lanao Aquatic and Marine Fisheries Center for Community Development, Inc (LAFCCOD)
Lanao Fisheries Advocacy Network (LFAN)
Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK)
Lig-ong Hinisuang Kusog sa Kabus sa Dakbayan (LIHUK)
Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM)
Mindanao Tri-People Women Resource Center, Inc (MTWRC)
Mindanao Tri-people Women Forum (MTWF)
Mindanao Tri-People Youth Center, Inc (MTPYC)
MindanaOne Tri-peoples Movement for the Advancement of Democratic Rights (MindanaOne)
Multi-Stakeholders Initiative for Humanitarian Action Network against Disasters (MiHANDs)
Nagkahiusang Mag-uumang Organiko (NAMAO)
Nagkahiusang Mangingisda alang sa Kalambuan (NAMANGKA SND)
Nangkahiusang Organisasyong Mangingisda sa Tubod ug  Baroy (NOMaTuB)
Patido Manggagawa (PM)
Ranao Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Assistance Center, Inc (RDRRAC)
Ranao Women and Children Resource Center, Inc (RWCRC)
Sumpay Mindanao, Inc.
Sustainable Alternatives for the Advancement of Mindanao (SALAM)
Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG) of Teduray and Lambangian tribes
Tri-Peoples’ Organization against Disasters Foundation (TRIPOD)
Tri-People Youth for Change (TryChange)
Teduray-Lambangian Youth and Student Association (TLYSA)
Umpungan Nu mga Babai sa Bagua 2 (UBB2)

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[Press Release] Martial Law Threatens Escalation of Abuses -HRW

Philippines: Martial Law Threatens Escalation of Abuses
Duterte Places Mindanao Under Military Rule, Suspends Habeas Corpus

(New York, May 26, 2017) – The Philippine government’s declaration of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao threatens to widen the scope of abuses under President Rodrigo Duterte, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 23, 2017, the Duterte administration declared martial law and suspended habeas corpus after the Islamist armed group Maute attacked Marawi City and killed three security force officers and burned several buildings, including a hospital and a school. Maute fighters reportedly took a priest and several others hostage.

The imposition of martial law in the midst of Duterte’s “war on drugs,” in which more than 7,000 people have been killed since June, raises grave concerns of ever-widening human rights violations in the country, Human Rights Watch said. The day following the declaration, Duterte told the media, “Martial law is martial law. It will not be any different from what the president, [Ferdinand] Marcos did. I’d be harsh.” He later said that he “might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

“Duterte’s martial law threatens military abuses in Mindanao that could rival the murderous ‘drug war’ in urban areas,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s crucial that the country’s security forces abide by international law at all times and hold rights violators to account.”

Placing Mindanao under martial law empowers the Philippine military to supersede civilian authorities in enforcing the law. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the military will have “control of movement, searches and arrest of detained people, [and] suspension of writ of habeas corpus.” On May 24, the Department of National Defense appropriately issued a statement that all military personnel are “enjoined that the rule of law and human rights should prevail” wherever martial law is in effect.

In 1972, then-President Marcos imposed martial law and suspended habeas corpus throughout the Philippines, which facilitated widespread abuses by the military and other security forces, including detention without charge, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. These abuses did not end when martial law was lifted in early 1981. The 1987 Philippine Constitution, which was drafted after Marcos’s overthrow during the “people power” revolution in 1986, places restrictions on the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, as well as on their implementation.

Article VII, section 18 of the Constitution empowers the president in the event of “invasion or rebellion” to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus for up to 60 days. A majority of members of both houses of Congress can revoke – or extend – the proclamation or suspension without the president’s approval.

Also under section 18, the Supreme Court may review a case brought by any citizen contesting the factual basis for martial law, and must hand down its decision within 30 days.

The Constitution also provides some important due process protections during martial law, Human Rights Watch said. A state of martial law does not suspend the Constitution, nor replace the functioning of the civil courts or Congress. It only permits military courts to try civilians when civil courts are unable to function. Suspension of habeas corpus applies only to people judicially charged for rebellion or offenses linked to invasion, and those arrested or detained must still be charged by the courts within three days or be released.

Maute and the Islamist armed group Abu Sayyaf threaten the security of people in parts of Mindanao, Human Rights Watch said. Both groups have pledged support to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). However, the imposition of martial law throughout Mindanao for at least 60 days could also affect the Philippine armed forces’ handling of other armed conflicts on the island, including with the communist New People’s Army and various Moro insurgent groups.

Expanding the military’s legal authority in these conflicts opens the door to increased human rights violations against civilians, including leftist activists, indigenous leaders, and environmental activists, who have long been targets of military abuses.

“The Philippine government has a responsibility to protect the population from armed militants, but gaining the backing of affected people means abiding by the rule of law,” Kine said. “Martial law is not a free pass for abuse.”

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[Statement] Workers group sees danger in unqualified declaration of martial law for entire Mindanao -NAGKAISA

Workers group sees danger in unqualified declaration of martial law for entire Mindanao

The Philippine Constitution under Article 7 Section 18 granted the President the power to declare a state of martial law. But such a declaration should meet certain requirements to justify suppression of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

We condemn and will continue to oppose any act of terrorism perpetrated by any group in any part of the country.  And while we recognize the power of the President to address security emergencies like this one, we also will not disregard the danger posed by unqualified use of military power to deal with security threats at the expense of democracy and basic human rights.  Filipinos will never forget the dark days under fourteen years of martial law.

In line with this, we find the Moscow declaration of President Duterte placing the entire Mindanao under the state of martial law as worrisome as it came with yet to be qualified basis except for the pockets of violence that erupted yesterday in Marawi City between the military and the combined forces of Maute and Abu Sayaff groups.  Why place the entire Mindanao under a state of martial law when the military itself claimed it is in full control of the situation?

Even the fire and storm of Misuari in Zamboanga nor the firefights in Ipil were not sufficient cause for a declaration of Martial Law. Indeed, if there is any lesson, Mindanaoans have demonstrated in the last 40 years, is that they best cooperate, cohabit and interact with each other WITHOUT Martial Law.  The historical memory of the Filipino race has been so foreshadowed by the totalitarian menace that even now, we feel more threatened than secured by the State under Martial Law. Workers will never forget, especially when workers’ rights to organize, to bargain and to strike occupy such a low level of political esteem from the powers that be. We ask all to step back from the totalitarian temptation.

Furthermore, the Filipino people deserve the right to be properly informed on matters of national security especially when their rights and welfare are affected by executive decrees, including military actions that reign supreme over civilian authority under the state of martial law.

Lastly, we call on the Congress and the Supreme Court to exercise its oversight powers over the President on the issue of martial law and for the Filipino people to remain vigilant during these difficult and challenging times. ###

PRESS STATEMENT
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
24 May 2017

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[Statement] We condemn the declaration of Martial Law ! -iDEFEND

WE CONDEMN THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW !

On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law on the entire Mindanao Island while on a state visit in Russia, following the fighting between the military and the Maute group.

It has to be clarified that the clashes were triggered by law enforcement operation in Marawi. This is a situation started by the government itself. Similarly, the Maute group is a local terrorist group, and not ISIS, even as the former tries to ally itself with ISIS.

We condemn the violence perpetrated by the Maute group to advance their political interest. Attacking civilian population not party to the conflict between government forces and the Maute violates duly recognized human rights of the people and violation of International Humanitarian Law on armed conflict.

While the fighting has endangered the life of civilians in the area, Martial Law does not alleviate this danger nor ensure the resolution of conflict and achievement of peace. Note that the National State of Emergency Due to Lawless Violence, declared after the Davao bombing, is still in place nationwide.

Martial Law adversely affects civilians as this would curtail many of their rights. Without Martial Law, the military has engaged and fought terrorist groups in Mindanao and can continue to do so as their obligation and mandate.

With Martial Law, the civil and political rights of the civilians, and their lives, are endangered more than ever.  Confusion and insecurity among communities may be taken advantaged of by different armed groups, furthering the violence in Marawi, and the rest of Mindanao. Human rights abuses are bound to happen, especially under a presidency which has openly shown no respect for human rights. It could potentially endanger striking workers and other protesting activists in Mindanao.

The public has the right to be informed of the situation in Mindanao and as of the declaration of Martial Law, a lot of questions remained unanswered. Defense Secretary Lorenzana himself told media that “there is intelligence” about the situation in Marawi, but that this intel has been wrongly interpreted. If the situation in Marawi had to do with weaknesses in the execution of its job, Martial Law, and over the entire Mindanao Island, is NOT the answer to this shortcoming or failure.

The 1987 Constitution has limited the President’s powers to place the country or any part of it under martial law to two situations – invasion or rebellion – and only when the public safety requires it.  Clearly, only compelling reasons must justify martial law.  The current situation does not constitute sufficient factual basis for the proclamation of martial law or the potential suspension of the privilege  of the writ of habeas corpus.

WE CALL ON THE CONGRESS TO REVOKE THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW!

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[Statement] No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems! -TFDP

No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems!

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is deeply concerned with the Mindanao-wide declaration of martial law and its effects on human rights.

To begin with, Proclamation No. 55 declaring a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence is still in place.

Is the Duterte administration admitting that it is powerless to curtail and contain lawless elements without special powers such as martial law? Is not the response too heavy-handed to handle the Maute group?

TFDP believes that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao is a slippery slope and will be at the expense of human rights, justice and peace. Innocent civilians will become the victims. We might end up creating a bigger monster – a dictator – rather than solving the age-old problems of injustice, discrimination and maldevelopment in Mindanao and the entire country.

History has proven that martial law under the Marcos regime did not solve the nation’s problems. It only created longer-lasting problems which we still grapple with to this very day – poverty, inequality, maldevelopment, injustice, exclusion.

History has also proven that a hardline, militarist approach to resolve issues underlying the secessionist and even the religious fundamentalism now spreading will not result to a climate of peace and justice. It will only fan the flames of protest and rebellion.

Criminal elements in Mindanao and elsewhere are a police matter. Let excellent police work anchored on human rights and solid investigation efforts be allowed to proceed.

Revoke the martial law declaration!

No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems!

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[Statement] Like the State of National Emergency, Martial Law in Mindanao, Overkill -Kilusan

Like the State of National Emergency,
Martial Law in Mindanao, Overkill

Following clashes between government troops and alleged members of the Maute Group in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte has made good his earlier threats to declare Martial Rule over the region.

The 60 day declaration came as the Maute group was said to have “set ablaze establishments” and the firefight with government troops which started 3:20 pm, Tuesday, May 23.

A closer perusal of the news brings up critical questions.

Four minutes (9:56PM) before the ten pm declaration by President Duterte, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra was reported to have been pleading with authorities, especially the AFP to send reinforcements despite assurances that “help was on their way”.

Another report featuring Mayor Gandamra said that by 7:32 PM, the local government still has all control of the government establishments and the streets are quiet.

Mayor Gandamra’s statement is consistent with that released by AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard A. Arevalo in social media, declaring that “the situation (in Marawi) has stabilized” and there is “no truth to the earlier reports that Amai Pakpak Hospital has been occupied and that the people there were held hostage”, the “City Hall was not occupied” and that the “sporadic firefight heard was harassment actions by terrorist sympathizers”.

In the same statement, the AFP pointed out that reports linking ISIS to Maute are “spurious” and characterized them as a “ small, local terror group”, which is opposite of the statement made in the impromptu Press Conference in Moscow by government officials announcing the 60 day Martial Law of Mindanao branding Maute as part of or affiliated with ISIS.

Like the unjustified declaration of a State of National Emergency following the bombing in Davao Market last year which have yet to be lifted, the declaration of Martial Law for an entire region is another overkill move as the clash cannot be imagined to be either invasion or rebellion, the necessary Constitutional Basis for declaring Martial Law.

In more than a dozen instances, the President himself has articulated his preference to impose Martial Law for varying reasons, the latest of which was in the event that the conflict in Mindanao will spiral out of control. The situation has already stabilized says the AFP, logically the declaration is superfluous.

In fact, no armed group is posing as a threat against government and one cannot help but think that the Maute threat is being blown up way out of proportion.

We view this declaration as a confirmation of Duterte’s obsession with strong hand rule which he has always threatened to do every time his plans and decisions, his exercise of presidential authority, are questioned. He has said before that if he is pushed he would do. Now finding even a flimsy reason he declares martial law.

The declaration is arbitrary having not considered the report and assessment by the AFP and the local government that the situation is under control.

Furthermore, just as the open-ended “state of emergency”, this martial law declaration was announced by the presidential spokesperson not by Duterte himself. The declaration was made while the president was in Russia underscoring the fact that there was no serious and objective study of the situation. Such arbitrariness betrays Duterte’s tendency to abuse authority.

Though the declaration cited the constitutional provision stating the basis for imposing martial law, such situation however does not exist, even in Marawi city.

The declaration is too vague and therefore open to abuses. It dangerously threatens the people’s democratic and legal rights, the functions of the civilian government and the courts. In fact, it will surely further the culture of fear and impunity already besetting the nation and not to mention open doors to rights abuses that would befall the citizens of Mindanao.

We demand that this declaration be recalled immediately and make the president answer for his action.

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[Statement] Martial Law is Not the Answer! -SENTRO

Martial Law is Not the Answer!

SENTRO condemns the atrocious attack on the people of Marawi perpetrated by a local terrorist group. We solidly stand with them in this tragic moment. We believe, however, that the declaration of Martial Law is a heavy-handed response to the situation that even the AFP now claims is under control.

It is in this light that SENTRO condemns the declaration of Martial Law and joins the growing clamor of various social movements, civil society organizations and concerned citizens around the country, especially in Mindanao, in calling for the rescinding of the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.

The real possibility of a state of martial law being utilized for counter-insurgency and the suppression of civil liberties, including workers’ and trade union rights, is a well-founded fear of our people due to our two-decade experience of dictatorship. While the 1987 Constitution (under Art. 18, Sec. VII) has significantly constrained the latitude of abuse a state of martial law may entail, a pliant Congress does not inspire institutional confidence.

We are also calling on the recalibration of transparency of information access regarding the unfolding crisis. While we respect the need for confidentiality and classification the AFP and PNP demands for such a sensitive operation, the humanitarian cost and the very real distress the relatives and friends of Marawi residents all over the country are experiencing also demand due diligence and responsibility. Rescue the victims, pursue the perpetrators.

In placing Mindanao under Martial Law, the Duterte administration, ironically for a
Mindanao-based leadership, is merely repeating what other administrations have done – to treat Mindanao as a frontier to be subdued rather than governed.

Peace for Mindanao. Stop the War.

Contact Person: Josua Mata 09177942431

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