The Makabayan bloc of progressive parties condemns the terrorist actions of Maute and their allied groups in Marawi City. Their terrorist actions must be defeated by focused and effective military and police actions.
But we cannot countenance and we vigorously oppose President Duterte's declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
The imposition of martial law throughout Mindanao is unwarranted, unjustifiable, and wholly out of proportion to the threat posed by the small group of extremist with alleged ties to ISIS known as the Maute group. Past administrations have been able to deal with similar groups without resorting to martial law. There is no reason why the Duterte administration cannot do the same.
We note with dismay that in Proclamation 216, the "Maute terrorist group" is conflated with "other rebel groups...in other parts of Mindanao." This part of the proclamation will likely play into the hands of militarists who are hell-bent in suppressing not just the Maute group but other legitimate armed revolutionary movements like the Communist’s New Peoples Army, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
By imposing martial law against Maute and other rebel groups, Pres. Duterte practically closes his eyes to the reality that popular armed resistance in our society, whether by various Bangsamoro groups or the New People's Army, is rooted in long-standing economic, social, and political injustice. The only way to achieve peace is to address the roots of mass poverty and social injustice.
History has shown that the iron-fisted approach to social unrest in our society is doomed to fail. Twenty years of martial rule under Marcos, including nearly a decade under martial law, led to more, not less armed resistance and the eventual toppling of the dictator.
The repeated assurances of President Duterte that there will be safeguards against abuse ring hollow in the face of the mounting toll of victims of the administration's ongoing war on drugs and counterinsurgency war in the countryside, which will only worsen under martial law.
Lastly, we view with serious concern the possibility that martial law in Mindanao is a mere prelude to the imposition of martial law throughout the country. President Duterte himself has hinted at the possibility. To do so would be to cross over to full-blown fascist rule.
We vow to vigorously oppose this and other right-wing and militarist measures that will be imposed by the Duterte administration. We call for the immediate lifting of martial law and the restoration of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.