Anakbayan Silicon Valley Demands an End to Martial Law in Mindanao!
Progressive Filipino organizations of the Bay Area gather for “Vigil for Peace and Freedom in Mindanao” on June 13, 2017 in Union Square, San Francisco
June 15, 2017
Reference: Kyle Mondina, Vice Chairperson, email@example.com
On Tuesday, May 23, in response to the recent clash between the Maute group and the AFP in city of Marawi, President Duterte declared martial law on the entire island of Mindanao including Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi. Under Martial Law the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, giving the government the power to arrest and detain any person without any cases filed against the person when the crime is allegedly rebellion. This is a serious threat to the people’s liberties.
Human Rights Violations
The history of martial law in the Philippines is painted in blood. Under the Marcos regime at least 3,257 people were killed, 35,000 others were killed, and 70,000 political prisoners were detained. It is therefore not a surprise that human rights violations are already evident in the current martial law. In North Cotabato, on May 25th, the 39th Infantry Battalion launched operations and bombardment at a moro community in Barangay Salat in Preside
nt Roxas, North Cotabato, claiming that they were targeting “terrorists.” 1 died, 7 were injured, 1,000 civilians were forced to evacuate, and 14 houses were burned. In Sultan Kudarat, 30 women enroute to a conference were stopped and made to undergo a 1-hour interrogation by the military manning the checkpoint. Furthermore, the government is using Martial Law as an excuse to discontinue the Peace Talks. Philippine Defence Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana has claimed that martial law will solve all problems in Mindanao, including “NPA extortionists.”
Across the globe, the Trump administration’s proposed budget includes a $53 billion increase to the Department of Defense–a huge increase that will fuel further intervention and militarism abroad. Over the past five years, the U.S. government supplied the Philippine military and police forces with half a billion dollars in funding, training, and military equipment. This funding contributed to numerous human rights violations committed by the Philippine government, including President Duterte’s lethal War on Drugs. As Filipino youth in the United States, we must be diligent in the fight for our rights through our national campaign to take back our education by redirecting overpowered military funds to ensure public education will remain affordable, accessible, and attainable.
Martial Law will not solve anything for the Filipino people; instead, it will complicate and create additional problems. The total disregard for the Moro people’s historic and legitimate struggle for self-determination will further aggravate the armed struggle, placing many innocent lives in danger at the hands of the fascist military. Instead of pursuing peace, the US-backed mainstream media and the warmongers in the Duterte administration paint the narrative of terrorism, hoping to bring increased militarization to the area in hopes of securing the vast natural wealth in the Bangsamoro region.
Anakbayan Silicon Valley strongly demands President Duterte to lift Martial Law in Mindanao, resume the Peace Talks, and most importantly uphold human rights!
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