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Activists to stage rallies vs martial law in Southern Tagalog

/ 06:05 PM May 24, 2017
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Policemen check evacuees from Marawi at a checkpoint at the entrance of Iligan City, southern island of Mindanao on May 24, 2017. President Rodrigo Duterte warned that martial law would be “harsh” like in the 70s after imposing military rule in Mindanao to combat Islamist militants. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

SAN PEDRO CITY – Progressive organizations are set to stage rallies in the Southern Tagalog region on Wednesday evening to denounce the President’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Peti Enriquez, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Southern Tagalog, said simultaneous rallies will be held at around 6 p.m. in five locations in the region.

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These will be at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and at the Cabuyao City market mall in Laguna, Bacoor public market in Cavite, at the Southern Luzon State University in Lucban Quezon and in Antipolo City, Rizal.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao in the wake of the crisis in Marawi City, following the attacks carried out by the Maute Group.

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BAYAN-ST and other militant groups, however, condemned the “hasty blanket” declaration which they said would not be a solution to the conflict in the south.

“While we denounce the attacks in Marawi, we vehemently oppose the declaration of martial law all over Mindanao which we see as prelude to massive human rights violations in the country in the hands of fascist military and police forces,” Enriquez said in a statement.

“We’ve been through this before and we cannot allow that innocent civilians will once again bear the brunt of state violence or get caught in between this conflict,” she added.

The activists will also hold candle lighting as they call for peace in Marawi City. They also launched relief drives in universities and workplaces in time for a humanitarian mission that Bayan is planning to send to Mindanao.

Bayan expressed its concern over the possibility that the government is “testing the waters” for a nationwide declaration of martial law.

“If he (Duterte) can declare this in Mindanao, there is no assurance that he can’t do it elsewhere in guise of maintaining peace and order. And given the bloody record of AFP and PNP in its war against criminality and armed rebellion, this declaration is an open call for incessant attacks on communities and organizations critical to the government,” Enriquez said, citing reports of human rights violations by state forces since Marcos time. JE

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TAGS: Activist, Bayan, Marawi City, Martial law, Maute, Mindanao, protest, rally, Southern Tagalog
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