mlReference: Machris Cabreros, Akbayan President

President Duterte’s request to extend Martial Law in Mindanao will only breed more terrorists as human rights abuses and poor economic development will prolong under military rule.

The government is unable to address human rights abuses under Martial Law which will only give powers to terrorist groups to exploit and recruit victims of abuses. The horrors narrated in Congress of Muslim women stripped in evacuation centers, teenagers psychologically tortured during interrogation and civilians without charges rounded up could be exploited by terror groups if not addressed. Extending Martial Law with records of human rights abuses further threatens the safety of Mindanaoans both by terrorists and abusive government forces.

Marawi cannot be rebuilt under a Martial Law extension. The government’s plan to suspend public bidding and allow big-time developers, both local and foreign, to take over rehabilitation efforts could open up more corruption and abuses. A Martial Law extension will send Mindanao years behind in terms of development. This will further disempower people from participating in the rehabilitation process to prioritize their concerns of healthcare, education, housing and jobs.  

Poverty and historical injustices provide fertile ground for terrorist and extremist groups to grow strong. The government should promote peace and just development by prioritizing the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to address the decades of state wrongs. MiniA long-term solution anchored on justice and peace will quell terrorism, not an extension of Martial Law. ###