On Monday, October 23, declaration of martial law in Mindanao turns five months to be exact since it was declared in May 23. In the entire martial law state in the island no martial law-related abuse was reported based on the joint government-private sector martial complaint desk which was created to monitor abuses. Skirmishes continue in critical areas in Mindanao either Abu Sayyaf operated or that of the New People’s Army. These are attacks that occurred even without martial law. For Mindanaons, these clashes are nothing new to them even treat them as normal for these have been happening for decades.
As the Duterte martial law version unfolds, war in terrorist-sieged Marawi City continued also for the period of over five months now until the death of the terrorist leaders who led the siege believed to be funded by narcotics money. However despite President Duterte’s declaration that Marawi City is already liberated from the local ISIS Maute, he however also declared martial law will stay until the last terrorist is killed. As to when, nobody knows, for apparently even the military is not so sure if the city is totally free of terrorists until today. What they are sure of is the primary leaders of the siege were dead. As to their remaining tentacles, there is nothing absolute yet.
It is just not to lift martial law. What makes it more needed is because of the warning of the President on possible retaliatory attacks by the Islamic State inspired Maute terrorists. “Be careful of retaliation. We know and I know it’s coming. When, we really do not know,” the President said as quoted by media. By these alarming and fearful statements, who would ever agree to lift martial law in Mindanao? By all means, it should stay until Mindanao is truly liberated from terrorists. The tentacles of the Mautes are just around the corner and not only confine in Marawi. If martial law would thwart terrorist attempts and retaliation, then there is no reason to lift it, besides, the business sector has already got used to it, even liked it for it has provided a secure atmosphere and feeling among Mindanaons. Nonetheless, vigilance against military abuse should stay strong to maintain the Duterte martial version far different from the Marcos regime.