DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Youth partylist Rep. Sarah Elago criticized Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for channeling former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos when he floated the idea of imposing Martial law in Mindanao.
“Martial law is the only logical conclusion in the Duterte administration’s maneuvers to reinstate an atmosphere of fascism and terror in the country,” Elago of Kabataan Partylist said in a statement Friday.
Elago’s statement came as Duterte floated Martial law warning anew Thursday during the “Meeting with the Local Chief Executives in Mindanao” at the SMX Convention Center here where he convened the governors, municipal and city mayors to ask their cooperation in his campaign against the drug menace and the terrorism in the country, especially in Mindanao.
“Either you will help me or I will declare martial law tomorrow for Mindanao,” Duterte said.
In his speech, Duterte also described the gory details of what are the possible scenarios if Mindanao would be under the military power.
Martial law “would open the doors of every house there, the arrest of every person, the detention of every person, every one, anyone. The military and the police would be allowed to just pick you up from the street and detain you,” he said.
But for Elago, declaring such would “pave the way for greater and graver state-sanctioned atrocities and killings, and would worsen the number of casualties since the start of all-out war.”
“Duterte has already demonstrated his fascist iron fist with the 8,000 and counting indiscriminate killings under the war on drugs and Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel. Despite his efforts to deodorize his annihilation campaign by enticing the Church to get on board, the body count continues to rise,” Elago added.
She also lashed out Duterte’s pronouncement to use all the military’s air assets against the communist rebels, ordering the military to “flatten the hills” by dropping bombs to the identified NPA lairs in the hinterlands.
Elago said such order constitutes an “indiscriminate firing” which could endanger the lives of civilians in the guise of pursuing state enemies.
“Sowing fear and terror will not solve the root causes of poverty, crime and armed conflict. In fact, even Duterte admits he could not control the armed insurgency. But what makes him think imposing martial law will stop it? Marcos and his succeeding regimes have tried to flatten mountains and drop bombs to quell the armed groups but to no avail,” Elago said.
Meanwhile, a group of peace and human rights advocate said the president should listen to the call of Mindanao people who have experienced all-out war and Martial Law.
“Did Martial Law during Marcos’ time solved our problems of poverty? Did the all-out war of Estrada address the problem of the Moro people? All these failed to bring peace, and we hope Duterte can learn from history,” said Rev. Jurie Jayme of Exodus for Justice and Peace.
Jayme also added that the president relying on the military and a police force tainted with human rights violations and corruption scandals will not win the people’s support. Jayme added that Duterte should “dig deeper on who is behind the Bansalan ambush.”
“We appeal to the president not to jump into conclusions. There are efforts from both sides, the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front, and also from peace advocates, to look into addressing the roots of conflict, and not to be swayed by these incidents of attacks,” said Jayme. (davaotoday.com)