On the Declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) strongly condemns the Maute group’s terrorist attacks in Marawi City and President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. CPA stands firm with the Lumad and Moro people against martial law, which will only heighten human rights violations against the civilian population, especially national minorities.

Declaring martial law is an overkill since the government has the means to resolve the Marawi crisis without resorting to placing Mindanao under complete military rule and suspending civil liberties. In doing so, it placed the lives of many civilians under greater threat, not only because of the Maute groups’ presence, but because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) itself does not adhere to the principles of human rights. It is a fact that the AFP is continuously committing grave human rights violations against the Lumads and Moro people in Mindanao, and military rule is not the solution to the long-standing problem of armed conflicts in Mindanao. It is a problem deeply-rooted in decades of national oppression, violation of self-determination and inequality by ruling classes, the State and its instrumentalities such as the State military. The declaration of martial law will heighten the grave human rights situation in Mindanao as it further sanctions illegal arrests, filing of trumped-up charges, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. It will intensify the violence that State military forces have been committing against indigenous peoples especially those who express dissent and opposition to imperialist plunder over our lands, such as large-scale mining and energy projects.

CPA further condemns the imposition of a militarist approach to pressing issues in the country, as what Pres. Duterte’s cabinet of warmongering retired generals, led by Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Año, is doing. These army officials are responsible for countless human rights violations against oppressed people such as national minorities all over the country.

In the Cordillera, the AFP launched several attacks in communities masked as ‘counter-insurgency operations’ under the government’s counter-insurgency policy Oplan Kapayapaan and its supposed all out war against the New Peoples Army. In Ifugao and Abra, houses were ransacked, schools were converted to barracks, farmlands were bombed, communities were displaced and civilians used as human shields by the AFP in their operations.

CPA calls on all peace-loving individuals, institutions and communities to join us in calling for the withdrawal of martial law in Mindanao. The CPA calls on President Duterte to heed the widespread clamor of the people to work on attaining a sustainable and just peace by seriously addressing the roots of armed conflicts. The social conditions in which CIA-funded terror organizations such as the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf thrive on must be strategically eradicated — widespread poverty, landlessness and oppression. This is the change that Duterte had promised, not a backward flip to the dark years of martial law during the Marcos regime. Never again to martial law! ***

The Tongtongan ti Umili-Cordillera Peoples Alliance (TTU-CPA) launched a relief drive for the people Marawi people who were forced to evacuate and leave their homes. We appeal to the people of Baguio to help by donating hijabs, blankets, appropriate clothing, toiletries, medicine, first aid kits and cash. Donations can be sent to the TTU-CPA office at 2/F 55 Ferguson Road, Brgy. Andres Bonifacio, Baguio City. For inquiries, please contact Geri Cacho or Jeoff Laura at 074 422 9754 (landline) or 0921 404 8639 (mobile).


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