Human rights group Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights on Monday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation to extend Martial Law in Mindanao, saying the country is an inch closer to a nationwide declaration of martial rule.
Duterte on Monday has formally asked the Congress for the extension of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao after receiving further recommendations from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
Duterte said that the martial law extension will help the government to completely suppress the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao.
However, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay questioned the basis of the President for extending the martial law.
“We cannot expect the institution to benefit most from another year of martial law to decide against it. If this is allowed in Congress, speculation will be enough to put the entire country under martial law, creating an environment for State security forces to continue violations without accountability,” she said.
Palabay added that attacks against activist groups escalated after the declaration of Martial Law on May 23.
“Many organizations in different regions in Mindanao, particularly local peasant and indigenous organization, are targeted for their campaigns against militarization and for agrarian reform. Members of Compostela Farmers Assocation (CFA) in the Southern Mindanao Region (SMR), for example, were targets of illegal arrest and political killings,” Palabay said.
“Activists and progressive groups have long been targeted by State security forces in line with the implementation of the US-backed counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. This was worsened by the declaration of martial law which further endangered individuals, groups, and entire communities who have struggled and fought for various advocacies,” she added.
Palabay called the administration’s move a ‘hogwash,’ and stressed that another year of Martial Law will bring no benefit to anyone “except the fascist military dogs and their equally proudly fascist leader.”
Citing the numbers of victims of the alleged summary executions in Mindanao region, Palabay also lambasted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which, according to her, is “consistent in denying their atrocities despite witnesses to their crimes.”
The human rights group Karapatan have been at the forefront of the human rights struggle in the Philippines since the time of Marcos regime.