PRESS STATEMENT: SOS Network to SC: decision to uphold ML, neglect of human rights

February 19, 2019
Reference: Geming Alonzo, CLANS Executive Director, 09304940342

SOS Network to SC: decision to uphold ML, neglect of human rights

Save Our Schools Network strongly condemns the decision of Supreme Court to uphold third extension of Martial Law in Mindanao, dismissing the petitions filed by different groups.

“This move by the Supreme Court, dismissing the petitions, is an outright neglect of human rights. This shows that majority of the judges do not care for the welfare of children, lumad, moro, peasants, and other victims of human rights violations brought about by Martial Law.” Geming Alonzo, Executive Director of Center for Lumad Advocacy, Networking, and Services, Inc., stated.

The group filed a petition last January to call for lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao, the petition filed was the fourth petition against Martial Law extension. They cited human rights violations under the Martial Law. SOS Network recorded 535 attacks on schools, 8,000 peasant and Lumads were forcibly paraded as NPA surrenders, 111 cases of Trumped-up charges against teachers, parents, and Lumad leaders, 73 schools forcibly shut, 11,500 Lumads displaced, and 10 extrajudicial killings under Martial Law in Mindanao.

“The atrocities of Martial Law in Mindanao should not be neglected. These cases are the concrete manifestation that Martial Law is not serving its purpose. In the first place, the Martial Law extension has no basis and is unconstitutional.” Alonzo added.

SOS Network stated that Martial Law is implemented to halt terrorism in Mindanao but only intensified the human rights violations and already existing militarization of Lumad communities.

“The government is only using the extension to justify human rights violations by the military. Continuous red-tagging of lumad students and teachers are experienced in Mindanao justifying the harassments by the military. The government is not really targeting terrorists but targets lumad communities that strongly opposes the land grabbing of their ancestral lands.” Alonzo stated.

The group reiterates its call for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao and calls for the people to denounce the decision of Supreme Court to uphold Martial Law. “We are calling for everybody to voice out their condemnation to this decision. The public should be concerned with the Martial Law extension in Mindanao because a de facto martia law is already happening in the country because of increasing human rights violations. We should all unite to call for lifting of Martial Law.” Alonzo ended.

Save Our Schools Network is a group of individuals and organizations campaigning against the attacks on lumad schools. They are holding a bakwit school in Manila and is currently in Univeristy of the Philippines – Diliman to advocate for the respect of human rights and right to education of lumad children.

Source: Save Our Schools Network facebook page

Date: February 19, 2019