Protests vs martial law in provinces
BACOLOD CITY—Militant groups, including a group of former political detainees during martial law in the 1970s, are joining protest actions today to express their opposition to President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao following the attack of a terror group in Marawi City on Tuesday.
Today’s Black Friday protest is part of a series of protest actions in the Visayas, following the declaration of martial law, which President Duterte said would possibly cover the Visayas.
“We condemn the terror attacks in Marawi City and we are in solidarity with the people in calling for justice,” said Reylan Vergara, secretary general of the human rights group Panay Alliance Karapatan. “But we believe martial law is not the answer. Our painful lessons of martial law should be heeded,” he added.
He said protesters wearing black shirts would hold rallies in Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz provinces today.
Members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) gathered at the Fountain of Justice in Bacolod City on Wednesday, carrying placards that read, “No to Martial Law in Mindanao” and “Never again to Martial Law.”
‘Blanket endorsement’ In Iloilo, Bayan held a candle-lighting protest in front of Jaro Cathedral also on Wednesday.
Christian Tuayon, Bayan-Negros secretary general, said the martial law declaration in Mindanao would likely lead to widespread human rights
The group called the declaration the “blanket endorsement of so many abuses arising from warrantless arrests, searches and seizures, and the filing of trumped-up charges.”
Nationwide call for prayer
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza offered prayers for the affected communities in Marawi and for Catholic priest Chito Suganob and his companions, who were held hostage by the armed group.
“We continue to be vigilant while the whole Mindanao is under martial law so that our human rights are safeguarded and peace, based on justice, is achieved,” Alminaza said.
“Even as we join the nationwide call for prayer, we continue to collectively look into the root causes of why there is no just and lasting peace in our country, particularly in Mindanao, and how we can together strengthen and safeguard the foundation for peace,” he said.
Rallies denouncing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao were staged in several provinces in Southern Luzon on Wednesday and Thursday.
Genalyn Avelino, Bayan head in Mindoro, said rallies and candle-lighting ceremonies were held in the towns of Abra de Ilog, Calintaan and San Jose in Occidental Mindoro province as well as in Roxas town and Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro province.
On Wednesday, Bayan mounted simultaneous rallies attended by at least 500 activists in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region.
“People might say we are too far, here in the islands of Mindoro, to know the real situation in Mindanao. But even before the President declared martial law, we’ve already been experiencing abuses brought about by militarization,” Avelino said.
In Albay province, at least 200 people attended a Mass and candle-lighting activity at Redemptorist Church in Legazpi City on Wednesday night to pray for peace in Mindanao and for the safety of people in Marawi.
Also on Wednesday, at least 500 members of youth organizations in the province held a candle-lighting event in Daraga town and offered prayers for peace.
On Thursday morning, militant groups staged a rally at Pinaglabanan Shrine in Legazpi City to protest the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Vince Casilihan, Bayan Bicol spokesperson, said Filipinos should remember the horror of martial law imposed by strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 and the thousands of victims of human rights violations while the country was under military rule.
“[President Duterte’s] declaration of martial law in Mindanao is mind conditioning. He can do the same elsewhere in the country,” Casilihan said.
In northern Luzon, victims of martial law during the Marcos regime said imposing martial law in Mindanao was an extreme political move because it would render citizens more vulnerable to abuses.
Brenda Dacpano, secretary general of Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), said President Duterte as Commander in Chief has enough power to quell the Maute group and does not need to declare martial law. —WITH REPORTS FROM MARICAR CINCO, REY ANTHONY OSTRIA, KIMBERLIE QUITASOL, CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE AND TONETTE OREJAS
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