30 DAYS

30 days after President Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, Mindanao is a mess with no end in sight to its problems with terrorism.

That’s the consensus of various analysts and observers ABS-CBN sought out.

a Former police general engaged in counterterrorism, long time intelligence officer  and now the President of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, Rodolfo Mendoza doesnt see any end in sight to the conflict in Mindanao, that began with a law enforcement operation with suspected terrorists in the Maute Group.”hindi pa natin nakikita na magkakaroon ng rapid conclusion kasi mag isang buwan ngayon di pa tapos ang kampaniya so ang effectivity niyan ay masusukat lang natin kung meron talagang broad support ang tao sa mindanao”

Opposition lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman , who asked the Supreme Court to nullify the declaration, said that the declaration actually made things worse.

“well i think 30 days have aggravated the situation in maraw and the rest of mindanao it has been recorded that there is extreme misery and horrific conditions particularly in marawi because of the extensive inordinate show of might of the military the police authorities which has really displaced tens of thousands of civilians not to mention destruction of private public properties and loss of lives”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, an administration ally who was part of a recent Humanitarian mission to Mindanao, is among those who has called for congressional investigation on the plight of the evacuees and those displaced by martial law.  ” there is now a grave humanitarian crisis in marawi and lanao del sur kaya tayo nanawagan ng tuloy tuloy na suporta kawawa ang ating kababayan hindi lang yung maranaw kahit ibang nadisplaced na tribo especially for the moro dahil they are now on a ramadan.”

Mendoza concedes, the goal of containing terrorism has yet to be achieved. “sa tingin ko di pa naachieve gaya nga  sinabi ko the armed skirmishes is ongoing”

It’s a view, Lagman shares. Lagman points out that the problem of terrorism persists in mindanao despite the declaration. ” 30 days have passed and this terrorist leaders have not been captured or arrested what im rtying to say here is there is no seige of marawi city the resistance was to protect and shield the terrorist leaders from arrest or capture in a matter of pintakasi  so it is not really to lay siege on marawi city the city hall was not surroudned and captured and the capitol of lanao del sur was also not surroudned or occupied”

Mendoza too thinks the raging battle in Mindanao has gotten messy. “yes admittEdly talagang di maganda yung nangyayari kasi emrong battle theres a raging battle…mindanao is not good in term of security interest ng ating bansa because of what happened there are stilla ctive jihadist movement sila yung nagkaroon ng unfiication with the particpation of jihadist this will not be stopped easily so mayroong talagang national security threat sa mindanao”

Mendoza also doesnt think government was prepared for the effects of the declaration. “the govt is not prepared to cope up with that  kind of scneario kasi nasurpresa sila and yung preparataion most especially in protecting communities na parang kuntrolado pala ng terorusta at the same time di natin akalain logsitically preparado sila.”

Lagman insists the situation could have been avoided since terrorism by the Maute group could have been addressed without martial law. Lagman reiterated that there was no factual basis for the declaration, an argument he made before the Supreme Court.

” mindanao particularly marawi is a total wreck because of the inoridnate airstrke and land offensive conducted by the military i cannot understand a policy of destroy and compensate because in the face of all of these destruction we have the rpesident doling out cash to civlian casualties and displaced people and at the same time the govt is expected to appropriate 10B to rehabilitate marawi city”

Even UP-based political analyst Ranjit Rye thinks the problems in Mindanao are too complicated to be addressed by martial law. “the discourse has really focused on whetehr theres factual basis i dont want to comment on that because the sc will decide very soon on this very divisive issue it seems there was basis to use this prerogative and the problem of violent extremisim in mindanao is  far more complex than what people like us perceive intiially lets hope and pray it will be resolved and we will not need to use martial law as a regular recourse in the future in resolving these issues”

For one, Mendoza points out that one complication is that people in mindanao are largely related by kinship, including the possible terrorists. “yes because yung the PHL context kahit sa ibang bansa very very important yung siansabing kinship clan kinship they feel yung effect ng caliphate system ay appropriate sa kanilang interest mahirap alisin yun at this period”

Zarate says the elders of Mindanao’s different communities want a return to the old ways of resolving disputes which considers the culture of the residents. “sa kanila of course napakacomplex nitong prublemang ito they would rather na itry ng itry ito ng mga elders dahil iba diyan ay mga relatives nila rather than extreme na flattened yung kanilang city and displacement dahil complex ang prublema sa moro area hindi ang bombings hindi ang airstrikes alam natin hindi yan ang solusyon kaya nangyari at suambog ang marawi conflict  dahil sa prublema in the past yan ang paulit ulit na sinasabi ng gubyerno kahit si pangulong duterte  sabi niya merong historical mistakes historical inustice and continuing these historical injustice and continuing this historical injustice dahil sa tingin nila ngayon there is a  historical injustice happenning in marawi city and lanao del sur”

Mendoza also doubts martial law enjoys broad support in mindanao. “dapat suriin yan kung meron talagang broad support ang martial law  sa mindanao kasi ang nakikita ko nakikita ng aming institute ay sharply dividing ang opinion ng tao sa mindanao may pro martial law may anti martial law”

There are different opinions if this martial law is any different from the martial law declared by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Mendoza said, “hindi rin natin maiiwasan na merong abuses in the process sa nakikita ko sa feedback namin ang Martial law kasi if you compare that to the martial law during the marcos regime very very far in the comparatuvely speaking ay di makatulad”

Zarate however quotes one mindanao resident who told them that this martial law is worse than Marcos’ martial law. ” sa martial law ni amrcos di nasira ang marawi city nagkaroon ng  grabeng bakbakan sa lanao del sur pero ang nagbakbakan ay mga sundalo  at MNLF at mga rebelde but this time sabi nila talagang sentro na ng marawi”

Barring any Supreme Court ruling striking out the declaration of martial law, Lagman expects martial law to be automatcally lifted once the 60 day period authorized by the constitution lapses.  “in the first place there was no basis to issue it because there was no factual basis to issue it definitely there is no factual  basis for any unwarranted extension. irrespective of what the SC would rule after 60 days automatically the declaration of martial law expires. “

Zarate notes there are calls for the immediate lifting of martial law among Mindanao residents. ” kung sinasabi ng defense department that the situation is under control napakaliit na lang ng maute  napakaliit na nt controlled area ay itigl na itong bombardment dahil talagang sirang sira na ang marawi city but in general andoon yung talagang takot nila sa martial law”

Mendoza cant say yet if there is basis to extend martial law past 60 days, but he made it very clear that any decision on the extension of martial law will have to be the product of consultations.” primarily yung assesment must be strictly in consultation with his national security team  managers saka mga other stakeholders