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Group: Lift ML in Mindanao

CEBU, Philippines – A multi-sectoral organization advocating peace for Mindanao is calling for the immediate lifting of martial law, citing alleged rise in human rights violations.

Kalinaw Mindanao is also asking the government to stop military airstrikes in Marawi City to prevent further destruction and displacement of residents in the area. The group held a forum—Dissecting Martial Law—in Cebu yesterday.

“Mao gyud na ang among panawagan sa gobyerno nga unta undangon na ang Martial Law ug ang airstrikes,” said Aida Ibrahim, Kalinaw Mindanao-Northern Mindanao region spokesperson.

  She said that many families in various evacuation centers have already suffered too much and their health are deteriorating especially the children.

“Kuwang gyud ang pagkaon ug tubig. Nangasakit na sila tungod kay overcrowded na gyud ang mga evacuation centers. Daghan kaayo og tawo sa evacuation center pero ang CR gamay ra,” said Ibrahim.

She added the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission plans to hold another relief operation from July 13 to 16 in various evacuation centers in Marawi City and two other nearby municipalities.

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Ibrahim said a previous mission providing humanitarian aid to 400 evacuees at the Capitol in Lanao del Sur was barred by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

 “Martial Law has only been used as a scapegoat to terrorize civilians, rebels, and indigenous peoples who are not part of the Maute group,” said Kabataan Partylist Sarah Elago.

She slammed the insistence of the United States government, with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to instigate terror and war and to coerce President Rodrigo Duterte into declaring a nationwide martial law.

“We condemn the US-AFP for further letting down our already impoverished evacuees and citizens through food blockades, and the interrogation of hundreds of civilians and tagging them as part of the Maute and other terrorist groups. We further condemn their continued instigation, through spreading fake news and erroneous, contradicting statements, as well as Islamophobic and terrorist hysteria, to further coax the president into enforcing a nationwide martial law,” Elago said.

Elago said in spite of these, and despite an earlier declaration of independent foreign policy, Duterte has merely been complacent of the heightened US presence, citing the long time military relations between the US-AFP.

“We call on the people to hold Duterte accountable for continuing martial law despite the damages. We call on the Duterte administration to heed the call of the people: End martial law now!,” Elago added. (FREEMAN)

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