A CALL TO BE CRITICAL AND VIGILANT
A joint operation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to capture terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was allegedly seeking medical treatment at the Amai Pakpak General Hospital, led to bloody clashes between the government troops and the Maute Group in Marawi City last May 23, 2017. Troops from the 1st Infantry Division and the PNP were ambushed while prisoners from the Lanao del Sur provincial jail were either set free or taken as reinforcements by the terrorist group. Civilians from Dansalan College and St Mary’s Cathedral, including Fr Teresito Suganob, were also taken as hostages.
The situation in Marawi City prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law in the entire Mindanao. The imposition of martial rule for 60 days has earned varied reactions from individuals and groups, especially after Congress refused to call for a joint session following its procedural requirements. Since the declaration of Martial Law under the 1935 Constitution by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, only two presidents have declared it under the 1987 Constitution. Former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo declared Martial Law in Maguindanao following the horrendous “Maguindanao Massacre” in 2009 and current President Duterte to contain the situation in Marawi City.
The Social Development Office supports the statement of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. Mindanao’s peace and order situation is brought about by social injustices that continue to propagate social exclusion which cannot be resolved by hard-fisted solutions. In line with the recent events, we invite the Xavier Ateneo community to continue seeking for what is true and just.
Let us be critical and vigilant as we remain steadfast in our commitment to build a more just and peaceful society for the generations to come.∎
Below is a fact sheet produced by the Social Development Office on Martial Law and its implications in Mindanao.