Second Martial Law at work?

5 12 2009

This is just a follow-up on the previous entries about the massacre in Maguindanao in the Philippines. Just today (well, December 5th in the Philippines), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared martial law in the whole of Maguindanao. This is the second time Martial Law has been declared in (some parts of) the Philippines and GMA is the second president to have declared it, the first martial law was declared by the late president Ferdinand Marcos. According to a newspaper in the Philippines, this declaration of Martial Law, contained in Proclamation 1959, also suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the province.

The Maguindanao Massacre has been the country’s worst pre-election violence. The Philippine government feels that Martial Law is now necessary to control what is going on and to prevent any further rebellion against the government. Armed rebel groups in the province of Maguindanao has shown its motive of establishing positions against the government troops, thereby depriving the Executive, President Arroyo, of her powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety and of the deteriorating of stability in peace and order to the extent that the local judicial system and other government mechanisms in the province are not functioning, thus endangering public safety. This statement has directly been implemented in accordance to the Martial Law, or Proclamation 1959. This proclamation also states that the president in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law, for a period of no more than 60 days. This would also include taking away authoritative power from any influential people, like the influential Ampatuan family. This is because the primary suspect for at least 25 of the accounted murders is Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

This may not be a major concern to other parts of the Philippines, especially those in the Northern area of the country, but the fact that Martial Law has been declared even to just one part of the country, signifies a big deal about wanting to uphold peace and order in the country. This also shows that despite the current conditions of the country, in general, security of the Filipino people is still being prioritized after information has been received that there are still many armed rebels who roam around the country and finding more people to help out with undertaking the government using brute forces.

But then again, these rebels wouldn’t be just doing these actions for nothing. They actually are simply trying to prevent certain circumstances like this Martial Law. It seems to be a cycle over and over again. Government does something that doesn’t please some people, people forms a rebel group that does things that don’t please the government, and the government gets back at the rebel group. Cycle.

It’s been less than 24 hours since the Martial Law has been declared, yet there’s already thousands of reactions, most of which are against it, in fear that this could be an initial step of President Arroyo to assert her power all over the country and declare nationwide Martial Law just months before the she gets replaced by a new president.

The government seems to show they’re doing righteous methods, but what is their real goal? The rebel groups are apparently doing things by force and violence, but what if this is what the Philippines really need to attain long-term peace and order?

Tough choice.

-Z. Santos

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