MORO CONSENSUS GROUP: No to Extension of Martial Law!

Statement of Moro Consensus Group on third extension of martial law and demolition of houses in Marawi’s Ground Zero 

Investigate the illegal demolition of houses by Finmat (FIRI) inside Marawi’s main affected area!

Tomorrow, Congress will have its joint session on the proposed extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. Proponents will argue that there is a continuing threat of Rebellion and that we are better off with Martial Law in place.

Well, we beg to disagree. Martial Law does not deal on gossips, threats and intel reports, it deals on actual situation that warrants and justify the declaration.

Marawi now is “Safe and Peaceful” according to Philippine Army – Joint Task Force Ranaw. The remnants of the ISIL group have long been gone, either neutralized or surrendered so what threat are we referring to? Abu Sayyaf Group? Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters? Their existence which preceded the declaration of Martial Law does not warrant a measure like Martial Law. The security sectors in the Government has enough mandate to deal with their threats. No need for Martial Law.

So why the extension?

Many politicians, including ours in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindana, favor extension of Martial Law. Who wouldn’t? Incumbent politicians enjoy Martial Law the most. They just need to establish a “special” working relationship with the security sectors to secure their political status.” Kung sino me kapit sa kasundaluhan at kapulisan ay malaking Chance ang panalo sa darating na election.” Let us not deny, na malaking factor ang connection sa Police at Military that’s the reality, our Reality!

Some sectors are also supportive of Martial Law extension. They say this is a different type of Martial Law. Well it depends, if you ask, say Genuine Lumads resisting Development Aggression in their ancestral lands. They don’t share the same enthusiasm of others especially those well off in society who think protesting is some form of Laziness.

But, Yes! This Martial Law is Unique in some ways! To us Meranaws living in Marawi City and around Lanao Del Sur, Martial Law is a curtailment of our rights to freedom of Movement, of the whole Mindanao. “Kami lang ang me curfew na pagpatak ng 6 p.m. hindi ka na makakapasok sa ibang munispyo ng Lanao del Sur at pagpatak ng 10 p.m. hindi ka na makakapasok sa Marawi City. “I wonder what those supporters of ML in other areas would feel if they have the same ordeal ike ours and its effect on their economy.”

Gawin kaya sa Davao, Iligan, Gensan, Cotabato city or Cagayan De Oro ang ginagawa sa Marawi? Ilang bilyon kaya mawala sakanila?” Total ang sabi sa mga intel reports sila bobombahin ng mga Terrorista so jan dapat me curfew, di ba?

This Martial Law has so many effects on us Meranaws. It continues to hound us. Di pa kami nakakabawi at nakakauwi pero pakiramdam namin, me gyera pa rin. Martial Law is being used by the Government to take what is legally ours.

Almost 28,000 families still displaced by the May 23 siege. The Government continues to impose on us what suit them. Just recently, the Finmat International Resources Incorporated who was awarded the debris clearing of Sector 1 of the Most Affected Area (MAA) demolished several dozens of structures in Brgy. Daguduban without the consent of owners that led them to protest and decry the illegal demolition!

The National Housing Authority (NHA) temporarily suspended the demolition, what is funny is even if they are caught “red handed” they are still in denial and instead offers excuses like the Demolition is Suspended because they failed to secure a Permit. From whom?

Finmat was given the ” Notice to proceed” so what is this “blah blah?” The truth is they now realize that they committed a serious blunder with serious consequences. Maybe they thought Marawi residents will continue to take a blind eye on what is happening. Yesterday, affected residents of Brgy. Daguduban held amob rally inside the Provincial Capitol where visiting members of House Of Congress were having a meeting, to be specific the Committee on Disaster Management and Resiliency chaired by Geraldine Roman.A sub-panel for Marawi is also created chaired by Anak Mindanao Congressman Maki Mending who personally received the Manifesto along with documents of Brgy. Daguduban residents affected by the illegal demolition.

With or without Martial Law, we will reap the consequences of the Injustices being committed against the people of Marawi and those Meranaws aiding them. The truth will come out soon, better come clean the soonest.

The Government should realize that force and violence cannot silence the truth. They can continue to terrorize us with Martial Law but know that we are a people who for centuries resisted and fought colonizers and invaders.

Peace with Justice is the best option for us now, not militarization!

(sgd) Drieza Abato Lininding
Moro Consensus Group