Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 12): Martial Law in Mindanao fits into U.S. imperialist strategy for domination in Asia and the Pacific
12 June 2017
Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao further proves that the country’s much-vaunted “independence” is all along a complete sham. Why? It is because Duterte’s bases for declaring martial law in Mindanao fits right into the scheme of US imperialism to further strengthen and maintain its military, political and economic hegemony in the country and the Asia-Pacific region.
It further bolsters its Asia Pivot military strategy to counter aggressive steps taken by China in asserting its political and economic supremacy in Asia, more specifically in the South China Sea. Apart from already establishing military structures in the Kagitingan islands, China, after Duterte’s official visit there, committed to invest in multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects in the country, such as the ambitious Mindanao Railway, the Chico River dam and other projects.
With Duterte’s inclination towards China and even Russia, it is not surprising for the US to make a counter move to assert its dominance. With pro-US military generals, such as Lorenzana, Ano, Esperon, etc., behind Duterte, US imperialism is assured of the reactionary government’s unwaivering loyalty to its political and economic interests in the region.
What role does martial law play in this? First, let us be clear. The so-called “Marawi siege” of the Maute terror group – the act of “rebellion” used as basis by the Duterte government for declaring martial law — was in fact a counter-response to the massive joint AFP-PNP operations on May 23, 2017 to capture local terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was said to be linked with ISIS and was hiding in the area. Therefore, in truth, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao was actually based on a counter-attack that the AFP and PNP caused themselves.
And to justify these operations, it did not take long after the initial clash between government troops and Maute for AFP’s spin doctors to manufacture the hype that “Maute Group’s attack on Marawi City” and that “ISIS was behind it.” By around 10 that evening, Pres. Duterte, who was in Russia, declared martial law.
Note that to make martial law defensible, Lorenzana, et al had to dangle the notion that ISIS was behind all this. But what is ISIS? ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Daesh in Arabic) is a terrorist group developed, funded and armed by the US to overthrow regimes in Middle East countries that are no longer allies and run counter to US imperialist interests, similar to what the US did in Libya.
Similar to how they used the Abu Sayyaf Group before, the “Maute-Hapilon-ISIS” link is the golden ticket used by Duterte’s pro-US generals to justify wielding extraordinary political powers through martial law. Ultimately, they can now impose and enforce, without any impediment whatsoever, neoliberal policies that favour the business interests of the local ruling classes and their US imperialist master.
The US Armed Forces have already confirmed that they are directly participating alongside AFP/PNP operations in Marawi City.
As clashes in Marawi City turn more violent in its third week, innocent civilians, more than anyone else, are at the losing end in these on-going battles. Thousands have been forced to evacuate from their homes and suffer without any livelihood in far and ill-supplied evacuation centers, where children are hungry and getting sick by the day. Much of the aid intended for the evacuees do not reach them because roads and passage ways are being heavily controlled by AFP and the PNP.
While the people of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur suffer under the continuing attacks by the AFP, the rest of Mindanao reels under the iron grip of Martial Law, which has already subjected peasants, workers, Lumad and other sectors to clear-cut violations of basic human rights and civil liberties.
There is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation because of martial law. More AFP/PNP checkpoints are set-up all over and subjecting all citizens to strict searches, demanding that IDs be shown and failure to do so requires to have their names listed in a logbook. The AFP/PNP warned against staging protests which they deem as anti-government and threaten them with arrests. Martial law is taking its toll against the people with increasing cases of warrantless arrests, harassment, intimidation and extra-judicial killings.
The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people in Mindanao and the entire nation to unite, demand from the Duterte government to cease from committing these rights violations and for the immediate lifting of martial law.
The entire revolutionary forces in the island, through the NDFP-Mindanao, are against all forms of terrorism that cause senseless and unspeakable harm to the lives and irreparable damage to the livelihood of countless innocent civilians. Terrorist groups do not in any way serve the interest of the people to liberate themselves from the oppression and exploitation in a semicolonial and semifeudal society. They, however, serve the interests of US imperialist forces in its aggression for global domination against the struggling peoples of the world, which makes them an obstacle to the revolutionary aspirations of the Filipino people.
Thus, the NDFP in Mindanao urges all revolutionary forces and the people in Mindanao and the rest of the country to continue to struggle against the onslaught of martial law as it subjects the people in Mindanao under stark repression and plays into the over-all strategy of US imperialism for global hegemony, which tramples on national sovereignty and genuine independence.
(sgd) Ka Joaquin Jacinto