of President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao?On May 24, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte cut short his official visit to Russia to return to the Philippines after Islamist militants killed Filipino government troops in the city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao. President Duterte subsequently declared martial law for the entire Mindanao region, which under the current Philippine constitution can last for only sixty days.
Fil-Am Voice staff asked members of Maui’s Filipino community “What do you think of President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao?”
Aggie of Kahului, with roots from Abra: “Why only Mindanao?”
Angie of Makawao, with roots from Dingras, Ilocos Norte: “I am glad that President Duterte proclaimed Martial Law in Mindanao. If that’s what it takes to take the city Marawi in peace and order, then so be it. I haven’t been to Mindanao because I am always scared that I might get killed if I go there.”
Aris of Ha‘ikü, with roots from Palawan: “With the rampage of the Islamist terrorist pledging their allegiance to ISIS, it is very important to mitigate this threat at the source. Declaring martial law will hopefully stop the spread of these terrorist, by taking a stand against them in this area. For years they have plagued that area, building their strength and growing. And now with the backing of ISIS, they will become a more dangerous entity. I feel the government must take a stand. I just hope that the people of that area will be helped and cared for by the government as their city is laid in ruins from all this fighting.”
Bernadette of Kahului, with roots from Pinili, Ilocos Norte: “I think that the President knows what he is talking about and definitely knows what he is going to do. From watching the Filipino news and Facebook posts, I believe that he is a strong and dedicated leader. The Martial Law before was known to be a harsh memory for some people who experienced it. But how is it harsh if it is the only way for the Nation, especially Mindanao, to be saved from terrorists (ISIS)? I know a lot of people are questioning about this martial law but not saying a single word when it comes to any ideas how to make Mindanao safe and sound again.”
Cecille of Kahului, with roots from Bantay, Ilocos Sur: “The declaration of Martial law in Mindanao is a great move by the President. He is really the president of the people, by the people, and for the people. A president that has strong arm and iron fist. The Filipinos really need that martial law to protect them. The presdu30 is a leader who steps us in times of crisis and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations.”
Dana of Upcountry, with roots from Negros Occidental: “Duterte’s martial law action is critical to protect our people from terroristic militant groups that have threatened our brothers’ way of life resorting to murder, hostage taking and kidnapping. He has vowed to eradicate them causing the rebels to fight back, killing and destroying parts of the city. Can our military stop Abu Sayyaf, Maute? Can we once and for all eradicate evil especially terroristic groups that have pledged to ISIS and sickened our country? Clashes of conflict date back many decades. The Moro group has always fought for their political right and government. How are we to know that this war will not spread over our land? The president suggesting that soldiers put the law in their hands, raping and killing is dangerous where many citizens are also law abiding. Many as of now are without homes, food, and separated from loved ones—our prayers are with them. Duterte has done many good things for our country, my hopes are that the president will not abuse his executive power.
Eliza of Lahaina, with roots from Pangasinan: “The Philippines has suffered immensely from martial law before. It creates an environment that is open to abuse of power, oppression and brutality. The sanitizing of this dark chapter will only allow history to repeat itself. We have already heard this administration nonchalantly speak about rape and murder. Why would anyone who is elected to serve and protect the people speak in this way? Who will stand up to this administration’s cruel tactics and ambitions and risk being vilified or violently targeted? My heart bleeds for my motherland and those who are voiceless against this tyranny.”
Erlinda of Wailuku, with roots from Leyte: “I fully support President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. It’s been years that these Islamic militants has to stop killing innocent people and it has to stop. A lot of families have fled the city of Marawi because they are scared for their own lives. I would like to visit Marawi in the future without fearing that I will get killed there.”
Geraldine of Kahului, with roots from Bantay, Ilocos Sur: “I don’t like it because plenty people will suffer like before.”
Girlie of Kahului, with roots in Pinili, Ilocos Norte: “Neither. I am in the middle of the discussion because I know from the start Mindanao is one of the dangerous places in the Philippines and I watched many bad news like bombing, killing, kidnapping about Mindanao from my younger years until now and I am very scared for all the people who will be affected. I am not mad about Mr. President about this decision because he knows that this is the best thing to do. Maybe he is very tired about killing, bombing, kidnapping that causes the Abu Sayyaf. I hope that after this Mindanao will be a safer place.
Lilia of Pä‘ia, with roots from Matungao, Lanao Del Norte: “Although I did not vote for President Duterte, nor do I support his extrajudicial killings of drug related suspects all over the country, I completely agree with his declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao. This is the only way for the Philippine government to actually access the deep, remote areas where these militants have long terrorized citizens. For decades since the early ’60s, these militants have been killing innocent men, women and children and took over any property they wished. Bombings in public places is not anything new either. And I don’t think two months will be enough to truly stop these decades-long horror.”
Lyn of Wailuku, with roots from Badoc, Ilocos Norte and Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya: “Declaring martial law protects the people. With the unfortunate deadly happenings in that part of the country, the government must obtain the upper hand on these terrorist. Surely, there is great fear of the martial law because of what occurred under the Marcos regime, but fear of what is happening now must be curbed in order to go on living.”
Maryjane of Kahului, with roots from Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao: “I definitely support martial law. First and foremost, I lived in Mindanao. My family, my kinship are still in Mindanao. Every day I communicate with them and they are happy and they are content. They feel 101% safer. The reason why they feel that way is because they really experience the difference how safer they are now and as long as you are a law abiding citizen, you are in good hands and secure.”
Norma of Wailuku, with roots from Santa Cruz, Zambales: “Due to fatal clashes involving the Muslim militants and the government troops in Mindanao, President Duterte had to declare martial law. I agree with the President’s declaration of martial law however, he must uphold the provisions of the Philippine Constitution. The 1987 Constitution limits military rule for not more than two months. If President Duterte needs to extend martial law beyond sixty days, he must obtain congressional endorsement. The Philippine Supreme Court can also rule on the legality of a declaration of martial law.
Yszah of Kahului, with roots from Laoag City, Ilocos Norte: “I support President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao because the city of Marawi has become lawless. These members of Abu Sayaff just do what they want, even if it costs the lives of innocent people. It’s about time that these members of the terrorists need to know that there’s a leader to keep them in order. And that is Digong!”