DAVAO

Lifting of martial law 'won't end rights violations'

LIFTING martial law in Mindanao will not guarantee the end of human rights violations, a military group said.

Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao spokesperson PJ Dizon said they are convinced that oppression brought by military operations will not end despite President Rodrigo Duterte reconsidering the lifting of martial law after more than two years.

Dizon said the government's plan of not renewing it will give way for the amendment of the Human Security Act of 2007, suggested by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana, in a previous SunStar Philippines report, said amending the Human Security Act in Congress would be a "better arrangement than martial law" and would "give some teeth" to the country's law enforcement.

Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act took effect on March 6, 2007. It is meant to provide law enforcement and judicial authorities with the legal tools to confront terror threats in the country.

Dizon, however, called the planned amendment a "bargain" agreement.

He said the government will be using the law, which they called "a worse version of martial law" as an opportunity to silence those who are against the government.

"Maghimo lang ka og rally, pwede naka damputon. Magpadayag ka sa kahiubos sa gobyerno, pwede na ka damputon (You stage a rally or air grievances against the government, you will be arrested)," he said.

He also said they are expecting more "illegal searches" on militant offices and other peace and development non-government organizations once the Human Security law will be amended.

"Kami mas maapektuhan tungod kita man pirmi vocal critic government tungod sa wala nila pagsunod sa mga polisiya, ug wala pagtuman sa gikinahalan sa katawhan (We will be affected since we are always vocal about the government due to their non-compliance of the existing policies and not meeting the needs of its constituents)," Dizon said.

Martial law was implemented on May 23, 2017 after fighting erupted between government forces and members of Maute terror group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Since it was implemented in 2017, martial law has been extended in Mindanao three times. The first extension was on July 23 when it was extended to December 2017. Then on December 13, 2017, martial law in Mindanao was extended for another year to December 2018.

The third extension was on December 12, 2018 when the Senate and House of Representatives approved a resolution extending for the third time the martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

Recently, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio personally sought for the exemption of martial law in Davao City as it had an economic impact in the city.

The 19th Davao City Council had also filed a resolution urging President Duterte to exempt the city from the implementation, which was supported by different security forces.


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