On the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, progressive human rights groups urged current Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to lift the martial law in Mindanao as it only increases human rights violations and atrocities committed towards Lumads in the far-flung areas of Mindanao.
Kilusang Mayo Uno – SMR, Gabriela – SMR, Anakbayan – SMR, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – SM, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – SMR (KMP-SMR), KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Association of Community Educators, Save Our Schools Network, Transmission Piston – SMR, and Liga ng Iskolar ng Bayan conducted a protest at Freedom Park, Roxas, Davao City last Friday to persuade the government and the people to listen to their cause.
“Ang martial law usa ka katapusang baraha sa estado sa Pilipinas nga hadlukon ang katawhan, pakurugon ang katawhan. Dili lamang diha, patyon aron mahadlok ug mukurog gyud,” KMP-SMR Chairperson Pedro Arnado said.
On the other hand, PTCA Sec. Gen. of a Lumad school Lorena Mandakawan expressed her hope on the end of martial law so they could go back to their community. They were displaced due to the intensified militarization in their area.
“Hinaot na ihunong na gyud and martial law sa Mindanao. Ihunong ang martial law para dili na mi maapektuhan ang mga kalumaran diha sa among komunidad,” she said.
On the other hand, a representative from the Liga ng Iskolar ng Bayan presented undocumented cases of the attacks on Lumad schools after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“Ang kahimtang sa mga lagyo na komunidad wala nakita sa administrasyong Duterte kung unsa ang nagkagrabeng pagpanglapas sa tawhanong katungod,” she declared
According to Save Our Schools Network, as of July 2016 to April 2018, there are already 134 affected schools, 56 of which are forcibly closed which affected 2,209 students.
The number of false surrenders, including parents, teachers and student victims increased to 2, 460 and school encampment is now at 30.
There are already none school-related killings, 2,787 students forcibly evacuated and 15 teachers who have trumped-up cases.
“Kita mga estudyante, mga iskolar ng bayan, kita nga gipahimuslan ug gidaug-daug sa bulok na Sistema angay kitang mulihok kay kinsa pay mulihok alang kanato? Dili lang nati ipahingod ang atong mga kaugalingon sa upat ka sulok sa atong skwelahan,” she added.
In a media release, KARAPATAN – SM Sec. Gen. Jay Apiag emphasized that the martial law in Mindanao has “trampled” on people’s rights.
“From staging forced and fake surrender schemes, demonizing labor unions and Lumad schools, and at worse, killing Lumad, Moro, farmers and workers, “he said.
The groups also protested against deregulation law, TRAIN law, and the plight of workers arrested on trumped-up charges in the light of martial law.
“We’d rather prefer the goodness of protest than the indecency of silence,” a representative from Association of Community Educators said.
Cultural presentations were also performed, depicting the situations of the victims of martial law.
After the rally in Freedom Park, the progressive groups marched towards Rizal Park, continuously voicing their purpose – “Martial law sa Mindanao; tutulan, labanan, ibasura!”
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 to contain the situation in Marawi City during the siege. The declaration was extended twice, ending on December 31 this year.