Bayan Muna, militant groups in Mendiola protest martial law in Mindanao

Image from BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance)'s Facebook page
  • Leftist groups protested Duterte’s martial law proclamation over Mindanao
  • Bayan Muna’s Renato Reyes said militarist solution not key to solving Mindanao’s long-standing problems
  • He also called on president to lift martial law, urged public to be vigilant

MANILA, Philippines  –  Several leftist groups converged in Mendiola on Friday to protest President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law proclamation over Mindanao.

While condemning the Maute group’s attack on Marawi, the protesters — led by Bayan Muna’s Secretary General Renato Reyes — said Duterte lacked basis to declare the entire island under martial law.

“We also march to oppose Duterte’s Martial Law and the human rights violations it brings. There is no basis to place the entire Mindanao under Martial Law. The government already has enough powers to deal with the Maute group even without resorting to Martial Law,” he said.

Reyes also said that the government — instead of trying to solve Mindanao’s problems militarily — should instead address its root concerns.

“We also march for peace based on justice, for Mindanao and the entire country. The raging conflict in Mindanao is rooted in poverty, inequality, rights violations including the right to the self-determination. These will require more than just a militarist solution. Martial Law is never an answer,” he said.

Calling on Duterte to lift his proclamation immediately, Reyes also urged the public to remain vigilant amid his earlier statement saying he is open to expanding the martial law coverage to Luzon and Visayas.

“We call on the people to expose and oppose the militarist and rightist agenda behind Martial Law. This includes possible US involvement in exploiting the ISIS threat to justify fascist measures and foreign military intervention, in the name of “fighting terrorism”. We call for heightened vigilance and resistance,” he said.

Duterte earlier said he was open to expanding martial law over the entire country in case of further attacks by terror groups.

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