MY, MY, MY MARAWI: Erase Fear , No to extension of Martial Law

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 12 December) — Durog na durog na ang Marawi ano pa ang gustong mangyari. Nilait lait na, nabaril, nasunog na, di na nailibing ang madaming  katawan  tapos sasaktan ulit pa. ..

We call on the Filipinos to stand against suffering in the displacement of half a million humanity, extending martial law is rubbing salt on Marawi’s wound.

If it was your family or co-worker who had disappeared during martial law, would you still stay silent? If it were your bedroom scattered, violated, would you not scream in protest? CCTVs were removed.

Dozens if not hundreds dead including infants, gone in Marawi without explanation, disappeared, detained in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig as a family such as the Romato mother and daughter evacuee taken in Cagayan de Oro, some without lawyers. Skeletons in rubble. We fear that among 1,000 killed (and more) in Marawi, many are civilians. Do we need more anger in a country with an unresolved peace agreement in the South?  Is this martial law 40 years later.

We call on the Joint House and Senate to not ignore the voices of Internally Displaced Persons who have convened in various assemblies expressing no to martial law extension.

No Congressional Inquiry

Eight billion pesos in armed operations expenses for Marawi City plus medical and social welfare subsidy will entail more expenses for an expanded Martial Law implementation.

We recall there was no forced evacuation of Marawi as in Zamboanga City siege, showing that there can be arbitrariness in the decisions made by government affecting human lives and properties. The miskin who has nothing on his back is the majority who walked the Marawi to Iligan exodus. Majority have no access to media or internet to scream their sentiments/ Tama na President. Our two EID  holidays of 2017 were no joy without our personal Holy Qurans with us, every page in the past recited in evening unison. Tama nang nahubaran kami ng aming dignidad ng anim na buwang pagmamalimos.

How many died from hospital beds alone when so many slept on floors in the past for anyone sick. Birth and death are the public events here aside from weddings, it is our mall outing when people hear grandness of unconquered histories. All these events no longer brought people together.

President Rodrigo Duterte said sorry, wishing Meranaos can forgive him during his June 20 visit to an evacuation camp in Iligan City .

But how can he recant such apology, writing a letter extending martial law deciding one unfateful day from Russia with no crisis meeting. Can’t he see the local hate after May 23 martial law’s destruction and he defending the state and not investigating looting?

Martial Law hit the most precious Islamic heritage, city of the country, displacing half a million of humanity. Marawi’s mother province Lanao del Sur with a million population was crippled.


The Department of Health (DOH) itself has reported almost 100 deaths from evacuation, many unreported because of immediate burial from home deaths. Babies became dehydrated from the ala Baguio environ to the industrial heat of Iligan City. People had to have identities defended with IDs, halted their cultural rites of katatabanga for survival, elders no longer tended to by the young with siblings spread in the chaos. Avoiding being bullied, children had to stop school.

Our rescue group, Ranao Rescue Team, has buried many babies and women along these past months. Cadavers had a hard time getting through checkpoints violating the sanctity of Islamic burial rites. Death assistance has not yet been awarded to many.


Lootings have angered Maranaos since June seeing their homes entered into. Since May 23, they were not allowed entry to salvage anything upon evacuation (except for the more than dozen returned barangays). We refer you  to FB page Bangsamoro News to see the photos of lootings and burnings in Marawi  .

We are urging all junkshops,  LBC and forwarders in cities near Marawi City which transported laptops and jewelries from Marawi June onwards  to act against  these fruits of a crime. These were properties stolen in Marawi.

Destruction of the Islamic City of the Philippines, bad sign for the Muslim World

The Muslim world has invested in the Southern Philippines resolution of conflict since the 1970s, providing venue for peace negotiations and support for Islamic schools, health and social infrastructure. Grandest mosques are found in Marawi City, the biggest being the Alonto Mosque. The force of arms with no negotiations prevented the protection of mosques because forces used the mosques as their sanctuary.

Martial law destroyed Marawi City as it did Jolo in the 1970s, take it as the sample. Six billion pesos spent for Marawi security operations, billion more for relief and medical subsidy could have been SPENT for badly needed gadgets , technology, vehicles for cops and (rido/vendetta) mediation i.e., Datu system. Drone and satellites could have easily found the terrorists, confiscated snipers and RPGs, etc. Why the need for martial law?

Extending martial law does not bode goodwill to an already hurting Muslim Maranao population who are spread all over the archipelago and were burdened to spend for their relatives /evacuees. Every Maranao in the country is affected  by the Marawi Crisis and displacement.

We must value the voices and the pains of the Muslim population. They are  valuable not just as peace process constituency but because of the oil support from the Middle East

No security meeting held to curb Maute Group /ASG

Christians, gays, Shiite Muslims and soldiers have been target of killings since 2009 with the Marawi Chief of Police Abner Santos of Jolo being the most prominently killed leading to organizing of task forces. Sadly, Task Force funding for anti-Terror activities was never downloaded.

When civilians offered help to the security in fighting terror, crime a year ago, they said sorry we have no funds to fund meetings, walang pangkape. One commander was so bigoted he texted Maranaos are to be blamed without engaging Maranaos ever. And we Marawi are blamed? Shame, shame for the silenced, and unfeeling seeing their brethren wallow, almost dying…

Since the February 2016 beheading of  Christian laborers in Butig, the Army focused its armed operations in Butig, Lanao del Sur. Civilian – security activities suffered in Marawi City.

For the past years in confronting terrorism in Marawi, no Multi-Sector Advisory Board meeting was ever convened for the Marawi Crisis to decide on martial law. The mistrust against government would have to be measured as this fuels extremists’ growth .

Civilian relations with the security sector dissipated May siege onwards because mechanisms for civilian dialogues could not easily be convened, Joint Task Force Marawi was not easily visitable by CSOs, security partners who were mostly Iligan City-based.

Martial law will not end vendettas.  Kamay na bakal did not prevent rido killing along a national highway and Iligan in front of a busy food strip. In a Marawi masjid while praying, child Walid got stray bullet, and ulama, families , Christians found dead either from gunfights or summary execution. Would you want Muslims, Christians finding hatred anew like the 1970s nightmare?

In summary:

There are half a million plus reasons  to reject martial law because you are a person who can be hurt by shots, strikes, razed homes, lost loved ones. Half a million human beings, half of whom are children fled Marawi with no valuables for survival on May 23 onwards. Only thousands are able to return back and are still grappling with a crippled, lifeless economy. So many home-based evacuees continue to not receive relief because they cannot be located.

And the women, mothers, they could not hold others’ hands the way they could. They would wear the one malong repeatedly and plead Almighty for her sons not to be lost, taken in … And some young women God forbid, for money…..

No place should ever experience the humiliation Marawi underwent. Martial law ignored all local efforts.  No crisis meet was ever called by National to fight the Maute Group / Abu Sayyaf Group. It is no Yolanda for it is men deciding against men in aerial strikes and strikes from ground, water and frontal. Fires ate up all the memories and codes and stories from kin. Worse, hard earned wealth left in open vaults given to the protection of martial law yielded massive theft.

Do not blame martial law? When you’re only lifeline is lost because he is taken away by armed forces either terrorist or enforcer, who is to blame? Suicide has seeped in one young wife’s head in losing her partner in the mayhem .

We look for only son Jalil Rascal, father Amen Taha, Lomabao children, Najib etc etc . Are they some of the 37 bodies who did not surface above ground?

While discrimination and prejudice against the Moro Meranaos prevented many from obtaining new homes and jobs, suspects were segregated, the many dead and skeletons yet unburied from empty homes, ghosts whispering we never got to say goodbye….

Would you want the arm of the law whipping you that way …

Other impact of ml implementation in Marawi:

– summary executions by the Maute Group (MG) because one reason was they claim their women were harassed that day, May 23.

– some wives, daughters were detained without legal assistance at first instance

– exhausted soldiers who have their trauma to deal with, their anger in seeing colleagues die have possible retaliatory behavior

– Dozens of missing people are yet to be located. Dead civilians who form part of the 800 plus so-called militants killed in war.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., co-founder of the Young Moro Professionals resigned as Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in late May, days after the Marawi Crisis started, citing personal reasons and policy questions. Samira is one of the organizers of the Ranao Rescue Team, a group set up to respond to the crisis. She had earlier served as an  assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and was former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, Inc. and former director of the Marawi Resort Hotel, Inc.)