Martial Law: Now and Then

My first memory of the 1972 Martial Law was a tv set that only displayed cartoons and on the radio only static noise was heard. Other memories include Ferdinand Marcos (FM) appearing on all four television stations. Then there were the curfews and the Metrocom. Jump to 2017 and the Nearly two weeks have passed since the Philippines or at least Mindanao was placed under Martial Law. Amidst the debate, discussion and on-line salvos going around is there a difference between the Martial Law of 1972 and 2017?

First, DU30’s Martial Law was declared for the whole of Mindanao and not for the Philippines.

Second. DU30’s Martial Law was brought out by the incident in Malawi City caused by extremists, both local and foreign, who wishes to establish a extremist caliphate in Mindanao. In this incident the people and City of Malawi have been forced to flee, some were taken hostage and some were killed; At the same time buildings were torched.

FM’s Martial Law on the other hand rested on the threat of subversion and lawlessness. There even was an attempted ambush on a government official, which we later found out was staged.

Third, During FM’s Martial Law the legislative and media outlets were pad locked.

Now with DU30’s Martial Law the media is still open and you are free to post opinions. More importantly you are not put in jail. The few imposition on media and free speech was and is an advisory against posting information that would jeopardize the operations of the armed forces. Citizens are also advised not propagate false news and propaganda of the extremists groups.

Congress is still open and just met two discuss DU30’s Martial Law and it turns out they support it. This generated a round of criticisms from the political opposition and the critics of Martial Law.

It is important to note that all actions taken by the DU30 in declaring Martial Law and the actions of their allies in Congress followed to the latter what was spelled out in the constitution.

Furthermore, The DU30 government since the declaration of Martial Law has not jailed any senator, congressman, member of the opposition or any critic. This is an important distinction between DU30 and FM s Martial Law.

Fourth, The DU30 government through its Martial Law Administrators has issued publicly guidelines and orders to the police and military how to conduct themselves when dealing with their countrymen.

Fifth, The DU30 government has also set-up evacuation centers and peace corridors to help fleeing civilians of Marawi .

Sixth, The DU30 government has gotten the cooperation and help of the MILF and MNLF to contain and solve the extremist threat in Mindanao.

Seventh, The DU30 government has been transparent with its conduct of its military operation in Malawi City, Updating the Filipino through the media and social media about the progress of the liberation of Malawi City. The military has also been straightforward with its losses against the extremist group and losses from friendly fire.

These are critical differences between the DU30 and FM Martial Law. Such differences may explain why there is high support for the DU30 Martial Law. The other would be the extremist group itself. Their allegiance to a world wide Islamic extremist group that has brought its intolerance and violence to Iraq, Syria and inspired several terrorist acts across the world foreshadows the kind of rule they would put in place once they are in power. This movement has to be weeded out wherever it manifest itself. In such a situation were an extremist group seeks to establish in our country the first order of business is to contain and uproot it.

Unfortunately, Military operations and Martial Law is needed at this time. First, In order to effectively contain the extremist group and prevent them from popping up all over Mindanao. Second, Martial Law is needed to control the situation in order to prevent unscrupulous elements from taking advantage of the situation — like jacking up the price of food and other supplies.

As Aristotle said, “We make war that we may live in peace”.

It is also true that military operations are not the only solutions to solve this problem. It is but a security solution and the DU30 government still has to address the economic, social, and political problems. At the end of this battle, The DU30 government has to start rehabilitation of not only Marawi City but of Mindanao.

In conclusion, The DU3o government is following the implementation of Martial Law to the letter of the constitution. Martial Law is needed since the situation calls for it. So far there seems to be no abuse being done. Whether one is a supporter, critic or hater of the DU30 government one must support and watch it as well — without going overboard or doing it for political means For who will guard the guards themselves?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Juvenal

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