August 15, 2017

NUSP: Never Again to Martial Law!

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) joined groups from different sectors last May 26 at the Black Friday protest against Martial Law. The student union denounces President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao and the threat to impose it nationwide.

On the 23rd of May 2017, the threats and rhetoric of Duterte on declaring martial law from the past months finally materialized in the provinces of Mindanao. The declaration was said to be in response to the purported terrorist attacks in the area, more particularly the armed clashes in Marawi City between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the so-called Maute Group. “The declaration of martial law for the whole Mindanao is really questionable as the attacks only took place in Marawi City. Moreover, martial law was declared after the AFP claimed that the situation was already “under control”. Hence, the declaration of martial law was uncalled-for. It is clearly intended for a more sinister agenda which now becomes more apparent as Duterte threatened to impose martial law nationwide,” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim.

NUSP assailed the government for using the Marawi terror attacks to justify its long-planned imposition of martial law, following the appointments of several former military officials in the cabinet , deployment of the 90% of military troops in Mindanao and Duterte’s successful attempts to suspend the rule of law. “It is also not way off to think that the United States (US) may have a role in the events in Marawi City as it is a global fact that US has a long history of funding terrorist groups and sponsoring proxy wars in order to forward its interest. The US is again using its instrument of terror to inflict pressure to the Duterte government. The terror attacks are being used as a pretext for intensified US military intervention. It also manufactured domestic threat which justified the expansion of invasive surveillance for activists,” Lim explained. “Terrorism is a symptom of US imperialism. In the Philippines, terror was used to justify the declaration of martial law, which aims to pacify dissent from the Filipino masses,” Lim added. Human rights violations are also expected to get worse, along with the still ongoing extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s war on drugs and the counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.“On the second day of Martial Law, more than 200 individuals were arrested because they did not have IDs. On top of that, military censorship had been imposed along with a No ID No Entry policy in the different provinces in Mindanao” Lim explained.

Harassment and abductions of civilians and activists are being foreseen as Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, the AFP chief infamous for the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, was appointed as the implementer of military activities while the country is under martial law. In all of these, the people, especially the vulnerable population of Mindanao, become the collateral damage. “The Duterte administration must be reminded that military solution is not the answer to the conflict and will only aggravate the situation. Inflicting fear and terror has been the tactic of the authoritarian regime along with its imperialist master. It aims to demoralize the masses and ultimately pacify them,” Lim added

“Martial Law has been a heinous tragedy for the Filipino people. Experiences in the past have left the country with thousands of deaths and human rights violations while political dissent was absolutely curtailed. Martial law automatically suspends our civil-democratic rights. In the past, student councils, organizations, and publications were completely shut down and no one was allowed to criticize the authoritarian regime. With Duterte’s recent declaration of martial law in Mindanao, our civil-democratic rights are once again under huge threat,” Lim continued.

“It is in this context that we, members of different progressive youth groups and student organizations and formations, denounce the recent martial law declaration of Duterte in Mindanao. We urge every youth and student to stand with the people of Mindanao in fighting against the imposition of martial law and call on the government to uphold the civil-democratic rights of every Filipino. We must not falter. Now more than ever, we must be united in our fight against authoritarian rule and imperialist domination. We must not let Duterte fulfill his ambitions of having a Marcos-style dictatorship and absolutely usurp power while denying us our civil-democratic rights as he threatens to expand Martial Law to the whole Philippines. After all, the true power lies on the collective struggle of the broad masses of the people,” Lim concluded.

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