As expected protests in Davao City marked the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country. The number of protesters is not that substantial to make it a difference from previous year’s ML anniversary protests. As usual most of the protesters are those from the militant groups who as usual also raised same issues like political and military harassment, political killings and harassments of lumad schools and militants particularly at checkpoints as claimed by a militant leader. Generally, police reported of a peaceful Day of Protest in the city with no major untoward incident to have erupted.
Militants were vocal in asking President Duterte to spare time in listening to their grievances and make action. They made special mention on the 47 political killings in Southern Mindanao which took place under the Duterte administration. They claimed incidences were documented, majority of which happened in Davao del Norte. The militants whose role ever since is to rant against government whoever the President apparently sing the same tune of hatred against government and continue to keep their eyes shut over the good things government have done to the country and provided to the people. In any case what would be their use as rebellious people if they would praise the worthwhile programs and policies of government? They described themselves as militants or people who are out to rebel against the country’s administrators, thus, they maintain to keep that role forever. Anyhow, their existence is useful for they serve as overseers to government frailties.
As expected, the dark days of martial law under the Marcos regime were also raised in the protest action. Since Mindanao is currently under the state of martial law, criticisms were also heard, though there are lesser issues raised against the Duterte martial law version against the Marcos version. Naturally, there are lesser issues because the current martial law is far different from the previous martial law where abuses and harassments flooded in almost all sectors of society. One big difference is the setting of a martial complaint body by the administration which is represented by both government and private sector including the religious sector. So far, the body did not receive a single complaint from day one since Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. If there is a way, the declaration of martial law by Marcos is not that relevant anymore in present day. In fact the huge damage it brought to the country and citizens is something not worth remembering.