No to mar­tial law ex­ten­sion

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION - – Kara­p­atan

WITH mar­tial law still in full ef­fect in Min­danao, the hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion has al­ready wors­ened due to the con­tin­u­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of Pres­i­dent Duterte’s coun­terin­sur­gency pro­gram Oplan Ka­paya­paan, but this is all the more com­pounded by his ter­mi­na­tion of the peace talks with the Na­tional Demo­cratic Front of the Philip­pines (NDFP) and his re­cent ver­bal threats.

With Mala­cañang poised to ex­tend the mar­tial law dec­la­ra­tion in Min­danao and, pos­si­bly, to ex­pand the cov­er­age na­tion­wide, the sit­u­a­tion is set to be­come much more ur­gent and dan­ger­ous.

On Novem­ber 26, 2017, 12 Lumad com­mu­ni­ties, com­posed of at least 244 fam­i­lies in Brgy. Di­atagon, Lianga and Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, Suri­gao del Sur evac­u­ated due to mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in their area.

Kara­p­atan Caraga re­ported ini­tially that 406 stu­dents and 51 teach­ers from nine Lumad schools were af­fected by the incident. The evac­uees are cur­rently in Si­mowao, Di­atagon.

On Dec. 1, 2017, a food block­ade was im­posed in Brgy. Di­atagon, Lianga as the 75th IB of the Philip­pine Army’s check­point re­fused en­try to the Lianga lo­cal gov­ern­ment and other hu­man­i­tar­ian groups.

On Novem­ber 30, 2017, “Wanted” posters bear­ing the pic­tures and names of lead­ers of pro­gres­sive or­ga­ni­za­tions in Davao, in­clud­ing Kara­p­atan’s Han­i­may Suazo and Bayan’s Sheena Duazo, were once again be­ing cir­cu­lated. The lead­ers, col­lec­tively known as “Haran 15” were charged with trumped-up charges of kid­nap­ping and se­ri­ous il­le­gal de­ten­tion.

The case was filed in 2015, af­ter hu­man rights ad­vo­cates helped fa­cil­i­tate the evac­u­a­tion of Lumad evac­uees at the United Church of Christ in the Philip­pines (UCCP) Haran com­pound. The case was al­ready dis­missed last July 2016.

The mil­i­tary will have greater pow­ers un­der mar­tial law, thus it is ab­surd that its ex­ten­sion de­pends on the in­sti­tu­tion that will most ben­e­fit from it. If we gave all the de­ci­sion-mak­ing to the mil­i­tary, the level of State-per­pe­trated vi­o­la­tions will un­doubt­edly in­ten­sify.

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