DAVAO CITY, Philippines — City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio should urge her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, to lift the martial law in the entire Mindanao, instead of only calling to exempt the City from its declaration, said militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
KMU-Southern Mindanao Region spokesperson Carlo Olalo argued that the local governments and security forces could still do its job in enforcing peace and order in the region even without the declaration of martial law.
“Lifting the martial law does not mean that they could not create peace and order. They could still implement it,” Olalo said.
Carpio mentioned her plan to lobby for Davao City’s exemption form martial law during her speech at the 5th Davao Investment Conference (Icon) held in Davao City last June 20. This happened after discussing the situation of martial law in Mindanao with the foreign ambassadors and officials who attended the event.
She admitted that investors and tourists have been expressing concerns about such a declaration in the island.
Carpio said that peace and order in Davao City is “relatively stable”, and suggested that martial law should only be imposed in areas where peace and order remain unstable.
She said that she would ask the City Council to pass a resolution formally requesting the President to exempt the city from the martial law.
On Wednesday, July 10, Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte who leads the 19th City Council, said that they are open to come up with such a resolution.
“I’m sure Mayor Sara has the capacity to ensure the peace and order of the City,” the vice mayor said.
President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in 2016, after a clash between the military and terrorists broke out in Marawi City. The request for its extension was approved for the third time last year, and is set to expire on December.
KMU, along with other progressive organizations, has been calling for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, saying it is not used to create peace and order, but to legitimize instead the attacks against the people who struggle for their rights, such as the workers.
While martial law is in place, Olalo mentioned that labor strikes in Davao Region were violently dispersed, and members of unions killed or are now facing threats.
For KMU, the narrative that martial law greatly helped in attaining peace in Mindanao is only “propaganda”.
“We could see that people in Mindanao are still suffering from crisis,” said Olalo, adding that peace in Mindanao will be attained only when legitimate demands of the people are resolved. (davaotoday.com)