By Jigger J. Jerusalem
CASES of human rights violations continue to pile up two years after martial law was declared in Mindanao resulting from the conflict in Marawi City that flared up on May 23, 2017 that ran for several months, civil society organizations said.
“The martial law in Mindanao was clearly used as a weapon of the government for ‘counter-terrorism’ or ‘peace-building,’ against its perceived enemies. It is used as a weapon to justify attacks against the Moro people and the progressive groups,” said Fr. Rolando Abejo, spokesperson of Movement Against Tyranny in Northern Mindanao.
The extension of military rule twice, Abejo said, has even emboldened the state forces to commit “terrorist acts” in peasant and tribal communities in some areas in Mindanao with strong organizations that demand the right to land and basic social services.
In the region, MAT noted that multiple trumped-up charges were filed against leaders and members of people’s organizations to send a chilling effect among activists and human rights defenders.