Archives par mot-clé : Mindanao

Duterte’s exceptionalism and the pitfalls of military rule

Duterte’s exceptionalism and the pitfalls of military rule by Cesar Suva, 05/06/2017, New Mandala

Are we witnessing a replay of the Philippines’ recent history in President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of Martial Law in Mindanao to deal with a terrorist threat? Will the Philippines once again be subjected to the perils beset the country by the rule of Ferdinand Marcos? Duterte’s exceptionalist narrative suggests that by taking the same actions as Marcos took 45 years ago, he can nonetheless achieve different results.

On 23 May, Philippine government troops attempted to arrest Isnon Hapilon, the leader of the armed Maute group, in Marawi City, Mindanao. The operation was unsuccessful, but the Maute group’s members retaliated by besieging the city’s jail and the campus of Dansalan College. Residents of the city, overwhelmingly Muslim Filipino, or Moro, were subjected to firefights between Hapilon’s followers and government forces. In reaction, President Duterte cut short his ongoing visit to Moscow to declare Martial Law in Mindanao for the prescribed sixty days, returning home to address the crisis.

The trigger for this proclamation was rebellion against the state and invasion, which is supposedly justified by the presence of international fighters within Maute’s ranks. With characteristic bravado, Duterte boasted to reporters that this new manifestation of Martial Law—tantamount to military rule—would achieve what practically every government ever based in Manila has not: that is, solve Mindanao’s problems ‘…once and for all’.

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Cesar Suva is Program Development Manager at the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society.

In 2015 he completed PhD research at the Australian National University’s School of Culture, History and Language. His thesis, Nativizing the Imperial: The Local Order and Articulations of Colonial Rule in Sulu, Philippines 1881-1920, is available online here.

Duterte’s peace hopes challenged in Mindanao

Filipino activists demonstrate against the recent declaration of martial law in Mindanao during a rally outside the residential palace in Manila on May 26. © AP

Duterte’s peace hopes challenged in Mindanao by Michael Vatikiotis, 28/05/2017, Nikkei Asian Review

Declaration of martial law by Philippine president raises broader concerns

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao on May 22. This came after a group of heavily armed men bearing the black flags of Islamic State stormed the mainly Muslim city of Marawi in the north of the island. They burned down a college, a hospital and prison, while taking hostages.

The army’s slow progress in flushing out the militants and the alacrity with which Duterte seemed ready to suspend civil rights is a worrying sign of renewed instability in a part of the country that has been plagued by decades of war.

 The crisis is embarrassing for Duterte. As the country’s first president from Mindanao, there were high expectations that he would make progress in restoring peace in the troubled region. But the attack on Marawi has raised fears of a concerted IS effort to establish a foothold in the Philippines.

The martial law decree in Mindanao highlights the lengths that Duterte, the former mayor of Davao City, is willing to go to address security issues. He has already been harshly criticized by human rights activists for sanctioning the extrajudicial killings of more than 7,000 people, mostly poor slum dwellers, for allegedly being drug users or pushers. His threat to impose martial law across the country has left rights advocates even more worried. He has already threatened to wield martial law as harshly as did former President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s.

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