Anakpawis calls for total lifting and not “selective” martial law in Mindanao
Manila, Philippines – Amid pronouncements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (Wescom) of its recommendation for a “selective” martial law rule in Mindanao, former solon and Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said that it is an outright admission that there is no such basis for its implementation, and instead, called for the total lifting.
“The term selective is a misnomer, it means that there is no invasion or rebellion, no urgency whatsoever, government institutions are supposedly working, thus, there is totally no basis for a martial law,” Casilao said in a press statement.
He demanded the lifting as martial law is one of the main trigger of human rights abuses against peasants, indigenous people and activists in the major island. For years of its implementation, it caused the forced evacuations of hundreds of thousands of peasants and lumad “bakwit.” Activists are also politically persecuted, characterized by incessant extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, red-tagging and other abuses.
The latest victim of trumped-up charges were Kilusang Magbubukid – Caraga Regional Chapter Chairperson Virgillo Lincuna and lumad teacher, Melissa Comiso, head of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) – Northern Mindanao Sub-Region’s Literacy and Numeracy Program, last October 10.
The Davao-based Anakpawis leader added that the martial law enabled intensified militarization of peasant communities. Government-promoted projects such as plantation, mining, power generation and others, have triggered systematic land grabbing and displacement of peasant communities in Caraga, Surigao and Compostela Valley. These affected hundreds of thousands from peasants, lumad and moro communities.
He added that the unjustified closing down of 55 lumad schools was the handiwork of fascists government officials involved in the counter-insurgency national task force, as created by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70. It pushed for a whole-of-nation approach to counter-insurgency, thus, involving the Department of Education (DepEd) and local government units, in the outright violation of the inalienable right to education of more than 3,000 lumad youth-students.
“Martial law in Mindanao is useless as it could not even prevent heinous crimes in the major island. It is just an instrument against legal-democratic activists, it has undermined democracy and human rights of the people. It should be lifted immediately,” he raised.
He warned that Duterte is totally isolating himself from the marginalized sectors of Mindanao. He demanded that the regime should start contemplating on its crimes against the people, otherwise, face mounting unrest, predominantly by peasants and other rural-based sectors. ###