Quo Vadis, Mindanao? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 May 2017 11:24

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Regina, Sask, Ca. — Tough decisions looms for Mindanao. Mindanaoans had it coming. Martial Law. The bomb blast that killed dozens in a night market in Davao, sporadic encounters between soldiers and elements of the Maute Gang in Marawi, the raid by a small force of Abu Sayyaf bandits in Bohol, clashes in Basilian and Sulu, the beheading of German and Canadian hostages by the Abu Sayyaf, clashes in Basilian and Sulu and other bloody encounters in the mountains of Lanao have forced El Presidente to do what he hesitated to do.

The tension in Mindanao is overwhelming. I’ve, well, most of those still alive, have seen it during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship. Zamboanga and Cotabato were hit the most by terrorism. Hundreds of people have died and hundreds more have been injured in bomb blasts, grenade attacks, and indiscriminate firings by undesirable soldiers and rouge policemen. Not even with the fielding of brigades of marines and battalions of police special forces did the violence stop. September 9, 2013 was the icing on the cake.

The enemies to peace — call them by any name you want: Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Maute Gang, Islamic fighters of Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — will keep knocking on our fragile doors until they get what they want: an independent state or a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

As of yesterday, the story on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao is still developing, as El Presidente is still half-way across the world meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the battle to ward off the terrorists from Malawi is still on-going. The “Moscow Declaration” came on the heels of a four-day official visit of El Presidente in Russia that would have been highlighted with the signing of trade agreements and cultural exchanges.

The military rule in Mindanao will be in effect for 60 days.

Very briefly in 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1959 that placed the province of Maguindanao under Martial Law, thereby suspending the writ of habeas corpus. The proclamation was issued in order to avert the escalation of “lawless violence” and pave the way for the arrest of the suspects that masterminded the massacre of a political clan and some members of the media.

A raid on a private warehouse accounted for more than 330,000 rounds of ammunition, a Humvee and an improvised armored vehicle.

PGMA lifted martial law nine days after she declared it, the shortest time in Philippine history.

September 21, 1972 started the reign of the “Conjugal Dictatorship” as Primitivo Mijares wrote. President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081. The Proclamation was, of course, criticized as a plan of extending Marcos’s term of office because the 1935 Constitution limited the term of office of the president to two terms of four years each or a maximum of eight years. The palace thinkers argued that the Liberal Party, then led by Senators Jovito Salonga and Nino Aquino, and the communist parties provoked the imposition of martial law.

The Marcos Martial Law was ratified by 90.77% of the voters in a referendum in 1973. Primitivo Mijares questioned this, saying that the referendum was invalid as the 35,000 citizen’s assemblies never met and that voting was by show of hands. Nevertheless, the 1972 Constitution was ratified by 95%’of the voters during a plebiscite in 1973.

Under the iron rule of Marcos, the regime, according to reports, was able to reduce violent urban crimes, collect unlicensed firearms, suppress communist insurgency in some places, but became unpopular as “excesses and human rights abuses inflicted by the military on leftist activitists, communists and rebels surfaced.”

There were over 70,000 cases of human rights violations filed against the Marcos regime.

Quo vadis, Mindanao?