Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes martial law is required to avoid more serious problems in the future, stating that “we need martial law because we haven’t addressed yet the existence of other Daesh-inspired groups”. After the vote, Ernesto Abella, a presidential spokesman, said “We thank Congress for approving the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017. The extension of martial law is essential to overall peace and stability. The rebellion in Marawi continues, and we want to stop the spread of evil ideology of terrorism and free the people of Mindanao from the tyranny of lawlessness and violent extremism.” However, there is opposition to the extension that is based on a fear that this is the beginning of nationwide martial law. Senator Risa Hontiveros, who voted against the motion, stated, “I fear that the plan to extend the martial law in Mindanao will pave the way for a Philippines-wide martial law.” During the meeting, approximately a dozen protesters interrupted chanting “never again, never again to martial law.”
Martial law has occurred in the Philippines before. In the 1970’s, then President Marcos declared martial law for almost a decade to tackle rising student protests, communist threats and a Muslim separatist movement. Again, in 2009 the Arroyo government declared martial law in a portion of Mindanao after the massacre of a political opponent by a powerful ruling clan based in the region. Although it is implemented as a means to control violence and has often reduced urban conflicts, martial law has also resulted in thousands of deaths over the past 5o years in the Philippines. This violent solution to political tensions and conflicts in the nation needs to be reconsidered because the damage has been imposed on society.
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