The imposition of a one-year martial law extension in Mindanao will heighten the people’s resistance to Duterte’s dictatorship. More and more, he is pushing people to resort to armed struggle as they suffer under his intensifying fascist rule.
The approval was based on AFP reports of “385 atrocities” committed by the NPA in Mindanao, referring to tactical offensives by the people’s army against legitimate military targets and punitive actions against destructive and plunderous companies in the island. This is similar to his previous manufactured claim of 4.7 million drug users to justify his attacks against the urban and rural poor, as well as his political opponents.
Since his martial law declaration, more than 58 activists have been killed in Southern Mindanao, 70% of which are from Compostela Valley, a center of anti-mining resistance which is now dubbed as the “valley of death.” Twelve activists, mostly Lumads, have been killed in the Caraga region. From Lianga to Alabel, thousands have evacuated to escape AFP brutality, forcing them to abandon what little they have and pushing them further into poverty. Lumads in South Cotabato are up in arms after his soldiers opened fire on their community, killing eight and wounding many, on his orders to defend his crony Consunji.
He has pulverized the entire city of Marawi, destroying properties estimated at P100 billion. He has displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the island through militarization, intense aerial bombardment and shelling to clear the way for land-grabbing and plunder by foreign companies and his family’s cronies. He now boasts of using the NPA for “target practice” of his newly-acquired attack helicopters from the US with the same callous attitude to civilian casualties when he ordered the AFP to “flatten the hills” against the people’s army.
By extending martial law, Duterte also bought himself time to ram anti-people and pro-oligarch infrastructure projects under his “Build, build, build” program in Marawi and elsewhere. His Mindanao railway project is due to start next year, fortified by the recent passage of his anti-people tax reform program.
As with all lies, the truth will explode in Duterte’s face. It is historical truth that the NPA increased almost tenfold when Marcos imposed martial law. It was martial law that pushed people from all walks of life and different political persuasions to unite and oust the dictator.