BAYAN on Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao

Press Statement
May 24, 2017
Renato M. Reyes, Jr. BAYAN secretary general

On Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao

Let us be clear, the Maute Group-Abu Sayyaf and/or ISIS wannabes operating in Marawi must be stopped. The burning of civilian facilities such as the UCCP school must be strongly condemned. Duterte is right to cut short his trip and return to Manila to oversee the resolution of the crisis.

However, we oppose Duterte’s Martial Law declaration because it is open to all sorts of abuses by state security forces notorious for human rights violations. It is a blanket endorsement of so many abuses arising from warrantless arrests, searches and seizures and the filing of trumped-up charges. It threatens to unleash more violence against the people.

The declaration of Martial Law will create more problems than solutions. Its coverage is the ENTIRE Mindanao where there are various other armed conflicts and struggles not related to ISIS or the Maute group and ASG. Will Martial Law be used against them as well? How will that sit with the peace negotiations Duterte is undertaking with the NDFP, MILF and MNLF?

The AFP claims to have the situation in Marawi under control. This makes the basis of Martial Law for the entire island of Mindanao even more questionable or suspect. The generals in the Duterte government seem to be preparing for a different scenario other than Marawi.

No, we cannot support Duterte’s Martial Law declaration.

The various armed conflicts in Mindanao are rooted in decades-old problems of poverty, inequality, discrimination and violations of the right to self-determination. These will ultimately require more than just a military solution. Martial Law is not the answer.

We express our solidarity with the people of Marawi who have been witness to and victims of the attacks. We call for peace and justice in Mindanao by addressing the roots of the armed conflict . ###