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Issue #1785      July 12, 2017

Philippines

NO to marshal law

Many Filipinos in Australia have been disappointed and outraged by President Duterte’s decision to impose martial law in Mindanao.

While alleged attacks by the ISIS-supporting Abu Sayyaf and Maute Group are affecting a small part of Mindanao, we know that martial law will not solve the root causes of terrorism or the armed conflict in the region.

Only the United States and its supporters stand to gain from martial rule. For the United States, martial law means securing the Philippines as a neo-colony and gives the necessary justification for establishing military bases and unhampered movement throughout the archipelago. Yesterday a US P3 Orion surveillance aircraft was seen flying over Marawi City. This is a violation of Philippine sovereignty. For big business and oligarchs, martial law secures their investments and the colonial trade. For big landlords, it is the protection and preservation of their landholdings.

This will only fuel the armed insurgencies in the country by threatening the rights of activists and other citizens engaged in normally legal activities. It is important to note that even with 60 percent of the armed forces being located in Mindanao, none of the issues of poverty and injustice have been solved.

It is instead simply a repeat of the 14 years of martial law under Marcos that only worsened the situation of joblessness, unrest and poverty in the country. Much worse, corruption flourished and many Filipinos suffered gross human rights violations and injustices.

Instead of these false solutions we demand the continuation of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We demand that the social and economic reforms being proposed by the NDFP be taken seriously by the government as a means to address poverty and injustice in the country.

We ask for your support in opposing the restoration of martial law in part or the whole of the Philippines and the suppression of civil liberties.

We ask your readers to support our call for President Duterte to lift the martial law in Mindanao by raising the issue with your local MPs and asking them to call for Australia to stop its military support to the Philippines.

We also ask your church and your readers to write letters to the President of the Philippines and to the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines.

The addresses are stated below.

We thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely yours

May Kotsakis

Convenor,
Philippine Caucus for Peace

Addresses & contact details:

HE Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic of the Philippines Malacanang Palace,
Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph

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