Peasant, IP rallies in Mindanao cities cry: End Martial Law

Oct. 24, 2018

DAVAO CITY , Philippines – Progressive groups rallied forces in key cities in Mindanao in a simultaneous “Mindanao Day of Protest Against Martial Law” to slam its effect on human rights in the island.

Protest actions in the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and General Santos gathered 15,000 people, organizers said. The mobilization also commemorated peasant and indigenous peoples’ month.

The human rights group Barug Katungod Mindanao said that under Duterte’s Martial Law, political killings in Mindanao reached 153 and 700 activists are slapped with trumped up charges.

The president declared Martial Law in Mindanao last May 23, 2018 to suppress the extremist Maute group in Marawi. Though the group was extinguished, Congress still extended Martial Law until December 31, 2018.

The farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas though said Martial Law had targeted Lumad, Moro and farmers.

“Martial Law in Mindanao only brought killings, human rights abuses and unending misery for Mindanaoans. Duterte is single-handedly destroying Mindanao. It is no longer the ‘promised land’. It has become the land of sorrow and terror under Duterte’s Martial rule,” says Pedro Arnado, chairperson of KMP Southern Mindanao.

Arnado said that in Southern Mindanao, 88 were victims of political killings under Duterte’s administration, majority of which are farmers. Fourteen were killed in Caraga.

Farmer and Lumad communities have been displaced, including 1,818 families of 8,000 people in 63 villages in Agusan and Surigao provinces. Eight Lumad schools were forcibly closed in Caraga.

“Almost 75 percent of the AFP troops are deployed in Mindanao and are wreaking havoc in urban and rural communities. Mindanaoans are not safe and secured at all from state-sponsred terror and attacks,” Arnado added.

“Every day under the Martial Law in Mindanao, a lumad children’s humble song about their dream to count, read, and write is shutoff by artillery and aerial bombs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” the statement from Barug Katungod said.

The rallies on October 23 showed what organizers call a unity of different sectors to defend their rights and oppose Duterte’s strongman rule.

“Moro, Lumad, peasants, farmers, churchpeople, youth and students, teachers, mothers and children— are standing up against the evils brought about by the US-Duterte Regime.”

At the doorstep of Duterte’s city in Davao, 3,000 farmers, Lumad and activists defied threats from Mayor Sara Duterte by marching in front of City Hall and proceeded with their program.

“The Duterte regime’s attacks on our people, the trampling of our basic civil and political rights, gives us more reasons to express our rage. It is just to call for an end to martial law and definitely to oust this bloodthirsty Duterte regime.” Said Lumad leader Jong Monzon.(

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