Martial law in Mindanao must be fully dismantled

Martial law in Mindanao has formally passed. Executive Order #70, however, has taken precedence and has placed the entire country under de facto martial law rule. Thus, even without Mindanao martial law, the system and structures of military rule remain and continue to impose fascist oppression on the people. The Filipino people, therefore, demands that martial law in Mindanao be fully dismantled.

Under martial law in Mindanao, the Duterte regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) unleashed a bloody and cruel campaign of suppression against the people. Armed agents of the fascist state carried out scores of extrajudicial killings, en masse filing of trumped up charges against activists, arbitrary arrests and detention, harassments and intimidation, food and economic blockades through checkpoints, forcible conscription of paramilitary forces (CAFGU), and artillery shelling and aerial strafing and bombing, in its drive to terrorize and pacify the masses. Armed troops of the AFP have occupied hundreds of rural communities and established more than 730 detachments and camps within and around villages in Mindanao.

The strategic aim is to destroy the people’s determination and capability to defend and advance their rights in order to pave the way for the entry of big corporate interests, both foreign and local. Multinational corporations in mining, plantations, energy, agribusiness and in other fields of business are drooling over the opportunity to plunder the country’s remaining patrimonial resources to the detriment of the environment and the people’s livelihood.

Nine specific demands

In line with the clamor to fully dismantle the structures of martial law in Mindanao, the Party expresses support to the following demands of the Filipino people, especially the broad masses of Mindanao:

• Punish all military officers and men behind cases of human rights abuses perpetuated by the AFP and its paramilitaries.

• Withdraw all military troops encamped in villages on the pretext of “peace and development operations”.

• Dismantle all 720 CAFGU and Army detachments and camps in the villages which endanger civilian residents.

• End the forcible conscription of peasants to the CAFGU and other paramilitary forces

• End the AFP’s “surrender” drive marked by arbitrary (without judicial procedure) finger-pointing village residents as “NPA rebels.”

• Remove all checkpoints that implement food and economic blockades.

• Stop artillery shelling and aerial bombing and strafing which endanger nearby civilians in peasant communities and mountain villages.

• Drop all trumped-up charges filed en masse against activists.

• Free all political prisoners.

The people of Mindanao can push for an independent investigation composed of respected local and international humanitarian agencies and personalities.

Support the people of Marawi

The Party supports the demand of the people of Marawi City for an end to the military occupation of their city and allow all residents to return to their land and homes. Tens of thousands of people continue to suffer from the destruction wrought by the ruthless aerial bombing campaign of May-October 2017. They demand remuneration. They demand further the scrapping of plans to build another military camp within their city.

Scrap EO 70 and end de facto nationwide martial law

The most brutal aspects of martial law in Mindanao are now manifest across the country. The entire Philippines is now under de facto martial law rule. It is now ruled by a civil-military junta in the form of the National Task Force and its. Through Executive Order #70, Duterte claimed powers to reorganize the government and put the entire bureaucracy, from social welfare to economic planning, under the operational control of the AFP and its active and former officers. He has directed all the state’s resources to the regime’s relentless campaign of suppression.

The worst policies of Mindanao martial law have been reproduced in Samar, Bicol and Negros since the implementation of Memorandum Order #32 in December 2018. They are now being carried out more with increasing ferociousness in the rest of the country.

Mindanao martial law has elapsed, but nationwide de facto martial law is now in full swing. The broad masses of the Filipino people must stand firmly and resist state terrorism and oppression, demand an end to EO #70 and Duterte’s fascist rule.