The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) strongly condemns the Maute group’s terrorist attacks in Marawi City and President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. CPA stands firm with the Lumad and Moro people against martial law, which will only heighten human rights violations against the civilian population, especially national minorities.
Declaring martial law is an overkill since the government has the means to resolve the Marawi crisis without resorting to placing Mindanao under complete military rule and suspending civil liberties. In doing so, it placed the lives of many civilians under greater threat, not only because of the Maute groups’ presence, but because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) itself does not adhere to the principles of human rights. It is a fact that the AFP is continuously committing grave human rights violations against the Lumads and Moro people in Mindanao, and military rule is not the solution to the long-standing problem of armed conflicts in Mindanao. It is a problem deeply-rooted in decades of national oppression, violation of self-determination and inequality by ruling classes, the State and its instrumentalities such as the State military. The declaration of martial law will heighten the grave human rights situation in Mindanao as it further sanctions illegal arrests, filing of trumped-up charges, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. It will intensify the violence that State military forces have been committing against indigenous peoples especially those who express dissent and opposition to imperialist plunder over our lands, such as large-scale mining and energy projects.
CPA further condemns the imposition of a militarist approach to pressing issues in the country, as what Pres. Duterte’s cabinet of warmongering retired generals, led by Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Año, is doing. These army officials are responsible for countless human rights violations against oppressed people such as national minorities all over the country.
In the Cordillera, the AFP launched several attacks in communities masked as ‘counter-insurgency operations’ under the government’s counter-insurgency policy Oplan Kapayapaan and its supposed all out war against the New Peoples Army. In Ifugao and Abra, houses were ransacked, schools were converted to barracks, farmlands were bombed, communities were displaced and civilians used as human shields by the AFP in their operations.