Tell it to SunStar: We will resist

DUTERTE’S martial law has no justification. The Armed forces of the Philippines’ (AFP’s) botched operation to extract an alleged terrorist is not enough reason for martial law. The mere retaliation of the armed Moro group against the raid of AFP elements in Marawi City, if there ever was, does not justify the president’s declaration of martial law in Marawi City, more so in the whole of Mindanao.

President Duterte must look back and learn from the Filipino people’s experience - that declaring martial law is a narrow response and fails to address the causes of social unrest. Moreover, martial law only incites resistance and fuels more rebellions. Just like the late dictator, President Duterte will be accountable for the “harshness of martial law” and the resultant violations of the democratic and human rights of the Filipinos, including the national minorities.

It is such a big disappointment that President Duterte who hails from Mindanao can easily declare martial law in the very same island where the people that include the Moro, Lumad and Christians are mired and are most vulnerable to poverty. They are also victims of oppression and state violence.

President Duterte should persist in addressing the root causes of the Moro people’s unrest instead of pursuing a military solution espoused by the militarists and US-influenced officials he appointed in his cabinet. This includes Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Eduardo Ano, and Ret. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. They are the ones who led the all-out wars against the peoples, mostly in Mindanao.

The AFP’s all-out wars have obviously failed to eliminate its perceived enemies. Martial law will certainly fail as proven by Filipino people’s history. Like, the AFP’s dirty wars, martial law only legitimizes the continued and intensified attacks which target not only armed revolutionary movements and other armed groups but also civilians, especially national minorities struggling for their legitimate rights.

If President Duterte fully falls into the trap of US-AFP’s agenda to declare martial law in the whole country, we, the national minorities together with the Filipino people are ready to fight and topple another fascist regime, destroy a system that breeds exploitation and oppression, and build a society that fully respects the democratic and human rights of its people.--Sandugo Moro Katutubo
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