FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2017
Nina Macapinlac, BAYAN USA Northeast Regional Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org, (201) 839-6050
NEW YORK — On Monday, June 5th, Filipinos and allies rallied outside the New York Philippine Consulate to condemn martial law in the Philippines and to call for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks. The rally was organized by BAYAN USA Northeast two weeks after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following attacks between the Maute-ISIS group and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City.
The demonstration called for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines and for the continuation of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The Duterte administration canceled the fifth round of peace talks shortly after martial law was declared in Mindanao, blaming the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which issued a call to intensify military offensives to protect communities against increased AFP military operations. This round of talks was supposed to finish discussions on agrarian reform and rural development (ARRD) in the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and Political and Constitutional Reform, and start deliberations on national industrialization and economic development (NIED) and environmental protection, and rehabilitation and compensation.
“Who stands to gain from the cancellation of the peace talks and from martial law? Definitely not the people of the Philippines, especially not the Moro and indigenous peoples of Mindanao who are being displaced by the thousands by the AFP,” said Ruthie Arroyo, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey. “Let us not forget the brutality of martial law under dictator Marcos. Martial law has never been the solution to problems in the Philippines and will only aggravate the ongoing all-out war of the GRP against people’s resistance.”
Potri Ranka of Kinding Sindaw spoke on her experience as a martial law survivor and as an indigenous Moro woman from Lanao del Sur. Close to tears, Ranka called on President Duterte and the GRP to immediately revoke martial law and end the war on terror. “My city is already pulverized by air strikes,” she said. “There are more civilians killed than [those from the] Maute group. Stop the airstrikes! It destroys the Marawi. Give emphasis on self-determination of the Meranao Moro people and [do not use] the Meranao people as collateral in the war against terrorism. That is instigated by the real enemy of the President and detracts him from his peace talks program.”
The protesters made clear that they did not support the actions of the U.S.-directed Maute group in Marawi City, but that martial law was not the answer to bringing peace to Mindanao and will only bring about more human rights violations and state repression. Only a few days after the declaration of martial law, close to 300 young Moro men were rounded up and arrested in Davao City for lack of identification. The period after martial law also saw “the arrest of members and leaders of progressive organizations and the targeting of civilians” under the justification of ‘security.’ Long-running workers strikes and pickets in Mindanao are being dispersed and arrested, like the ShinSun union strike camp.
“The question of peace in Marawi, in Mindanao, and by extension in the Philippines, is essentially a question of land. The Moro struggle for self-determination, including the right to self-defense from the historic militarization and all-out war policies of the Philippine government against them, is essentially also a struggle for food, livelihood, dignity and justice,” said Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA. “Instead of addressing the roots of armed conflict and social unrest in Mindanao, the Philippine government is branding terrorists and once again skirting the status quo of impoverishment and landlessness imposed by the minority few against the vast majority in the country, with the backing of the U.S.”
NO TO MARTIAL LAW! OPPOSE GRP ALL OUT WAR!
END U.S. COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS & WAR ON TERROR!
RESUME THE NDFP-GRP PEACE TALKS!
DEFEND THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE!