Duterte’s threat to impose a state of national emergency, nationwide martial law perpetuates unpeace in PH

“Amid the worsening human rights situation and climate of impunity in the Philippines, Duterte’s threats to impose a state of national emergency or nationwide martial law will only foment a situation of greater unpeace. His use of worn-out and make-believe reasons betray his real intent which is to promote his tyrannical rule and militarist approach in solving the country’s problems, instead of solving the root causes of social problems,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, in reaction to recent statements of President Rodrigo Duterte and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on the possibility of declaring a state of national emergency, martial law or “radical changes” to combat criminality or drugs.

Karapatan said that “such threats of Duterte should be vigorously opposed, with his propensity to walk the talk when it comes to using state violence and terror and further promote his thuggish and anti-people governance.”

“The numerous cases of human rights violations in Mindanao during the one-year implementation of martial law is testament to the disastrous impacts of Duterte’s pandering to military rule,” Palabay added.

On May 23, 2017, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, purportedly in response to the Marawi siege. Since then up to May 23, 2018, Karapatan documented at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao, with an average of one victim killed every week. Most of the victims are indigenous peoples and members of local peasant organizations targeted for their local campaigns for genuine agrarian reform and against militarization.

Karapatan also documented 22 cases of torture, 116 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 89 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 336,124 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings. At least 404, 654 individuals have been displaced, largely because of these bombings. There were also 979 civilians who were forcibly portrayed as rebel surrenderees and whose “surrenders” were staged/faked by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We join progressive groups and broad formations in opposing Duterte’s tyrannical rule, as we continue to remain vigilant on the forms of repression employed by the government. We will march with the Filipino people on June 12 to uphold and defend people’s rights,” Palabay concluded.  

For reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 09173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 09189790580