New Zealanders and Filipinos in NZ Join Call: Never Again to Martial Law
3 June 2017

Migrante Aotearoa and Philippines Solidarity groups in New Zealand are troubled by President Duterte’s recent declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

We share the President’s outrage at the anti-people actions of the Maute group in Marawi.  However, Marawi is only a small area of Mindanao.  The martial law declaration is for all of Mindanao where the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their paramilitaries have committed abuses in recent years against ordinary civilians, trade unionists, peasants and Lumad communities resisting land grabbing by oligarchs and big landlords.

By declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeus corpus (the legal need to be charged with an offence and brought before a court in order to be detained) Duterte has given the AFP free hand to commit human rights abuses in the whole of Mindanao against those with absolutely no connection to the Maute group or other terrorist organisations.

In Compostela Valley, more than 8 hours drive away from Marawi, members of the AFP recently attempted to break up a strike at the Shin Sun Tropical Fruit company by workers demanding an end to contractualisation. Ending contracualisation was an early promise of the Duterte Administration, which is yet to be fulfilled.

According to Karapatan a couple from a peasant organisation were arrested by members of the AFP and Bagani force paramilitary in Laak, Compostela Valley. Duterte’s statement to the media:  “Martial law is martial law. It will not be any different from what the president, Marcos did” is very worrying, considering the horrific abuses committed against innocent people by the Police and Military during the Marcos martial law period.

Duterte’s threats to extend martial law to the Visayas or the country as a whole, also gives the impression this Administration is now under the control of militarists who can only see blunt violent solutions to complex long standing social problems.

We call for the Duterte Administration to lift martial law and end human rights abuses.  Likewise we believe Duterte should go back to some of the progressive ideas from the early part of his Administration, including resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, rather than supporting a solely military solution for every conflict.

For a lasting peace and justice in the Philippines,

Helen Te Hira
Convener, Auckland Philippines Solidarity
Murray Horton
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa

Michael Santos
Spokesperson, Migrante Aotearoa


Posted by: International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines