Subject: [Karapatan HR update] LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lift martial law declaration now! – Karapatan
 
May 26, 2017
 
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
 
Lift martial law declaration now! – Karapatan 
 
We are a nation that has gone through the monstrosities of martial law. Repeating it again, with no less than another butcher, AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, as administrator, will inevitably worsen rights abuses. The people in Mindanao have been through various forms of repression, instigated by counterinsurgency programs and the recent all-out-war declaration. With martial law in tow, an open fascist rule coupled with impunity will set the stage ripe for open State terrorism.
 
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said that the martial law declaration was done to preserve the country and its citizens. He also said that Marcos’ martial law is “very good.” Learning from history however, martial law has done the opposite, aggravating rights violations instead of ensuring the safety and protection of citizens. More so with warmongers holding significant influence in Duterte’s decisions. In a time where civilian supremacy and civilian processes are thrown to the sides, so too are our rights. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will also open the floodgates for illegal arrests, torture and detention of civilians, as what happened when the past regimes implemented the said measure.
 
We also take exception at statements of Vice Pres. Leni Robredo to ‘trust the AFP’. If anything, we should be vigilant and cautious against military operations. Gone were the days where the AFP can earn our trust, after their role as main violators during and after Marcos’ martial law declaration. We remind Robredo that the atrocities of martial law were not just on Marcos’ hands, but on several more military generals and high-ranking officers. We would do well to never forget that.
 
Karapatan strongly urge Duterte to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao, and to stop loaded caveats regarding putting the entire country under martial law. There are inviolable rights that cannot be foregone, regardless of place, time or context. But despite such safeguards, martial law is a pandora’s box that will give way to systematic rights violations. Just like in the time of Marcos, these violations will be justified under the blanket of “security”, “protection”, and “national interest.
 
We should all be wary of the covert war-making strategies of the US to justify their intervention in several countries, done in collusion with US surrogates bearing the face of top PH military officials. Suara Bangsamoro has earlier reported of Maute group ties with the military. We should further investigate the US and the military’s role in the Marawi incident lest it becomes another excuse to deploy foreign troops and further undermine our sovereignty.
 
We stand in solidarity with the people in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao. It should be reiterated that martial law is not the solution, along with other militarist approaches. We remain steadfast in the rooting out the causes of unrest and calling for a just and lasting peace. Should the Duterte administration continue down this path, he and the warmongers under him will be held accountable.

Cristina Palabay
Secretary General, Karapatan
2F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets, Central District, Quezon City
Contact numbers: +63917-3162831, 02-4354146
E-mail: karapatan@karapatan.org
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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.