Makabayan lawmakers took exception to President Duterte’s declaration in his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) that no abuses were committed during the imposition of martial law in Mindanao from May 2017, to December 2019.
Bayan Muna partylist Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat, and Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago disagreed with President Duterte who took pride in saying in his SONA that “martial law in Mindanao ended without any abuse.”
“Hindi totoo na walang abuses sa martial law. Sa mga mamamayan ng Mindanao, matinding dagok ang naranasan nila sa panahon ng martial law (It is not true that there were no abuses in the enforcement of martial law. For the people of Mindanao, they experienced severe blows during the period of martial law),” Zarate said in a virtual press conference on Monday evening.
He said they are expecting more human rights violations, as Duterte sought the local government units’ support for the Barangay Development Program with the military playing a crucial role in a “one-nation” approach supposedly to crush insurgency in the barangay level.
Cullamat also disputed the Chief Executive’s claims, saying that over 800,000 human rights violations have been recorded from the two-year implementation of martial law in the southern Philippines.
“Sabi nya wala daw abuso ang martial law sa Mindanao (He said there was no martial law abuse in Mindanao), pero batay sa ating natala na abuses (but, based on abuses we recorded) ay 800,000 na human rights abuses ang narecord sa dalawang taon ng martial law sa Mindanao (800,000 human rights abuses have been recorded in the enforcement of martial law in Mindanao),” she said.
Elago said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) could attest to the supposed widespread human rights violations in the country.
“Hindi po totoo na walang paglabag sa karapatang pantao dahil sa CHR mismo nakafile ang maraming mga kaso for investigation at ‘yung state of human rights abuses ay hindi po dapat itanggi at nananawagan ang lahat ng mga naging biktima ng hustiya at pananagutan dyan,” she said. (It is not true that there were no human rights violated because many cases for investigation were filed at the CHR and the state of human rights abuses should not be denied and those victims have been calling for justice and accountability.)