by Moy Alonto Lucman
The 1st Martial Law was declared by Former President Marcos on Sept 21, 1972. The following month, October 21, 1972, Marawi City erupted in violence.
A group of rebels, or so it was said, attacked Camp Kiethley, a Philippine Constabulary camp (Now called PNP), in the early hours of the morning.
I remember the day of the Marawi Uprising in 1972. We woke up to the sound of gunfires all over the city rattling the residents to their deafening roars.
I remember the road teeming with people fleeing the city in panic either on foot or vehicles of all kinds. We were jampacked in a Macarthur type jeep making its way to our mother’s hometown in Ramain, 20 kilometers away from the city.
We passed by people, many I know who are friends and classmates tagging along with their families walking their way out of the city.
Our eyes meet but without saying a word. We were all too young to make sense of the violent sounds that jolted us from sleep.
We became evacuees (IDP is a modern word) for several months even though the armed conflict took less than a month only. Marawi City then became a military garrison.
The dreaded Tabak Division of the AFP took over the city. Stories of atrocities committed by soldiers animated people’s imagination which triggered a great diaspora that has reduced Marawi into a ghost town for a significant period.
The 2nd Martial Law was declared by President Duterte on May 24, 2017. That is a day after a group of Muslim militants or terrorists laid siege on Marawi City.
I had to rush to Marawi from Cotabato City on the same day. While entering Marawi, the same gunfires I heard during the Marawi Uprising of 1972, was much the same. Only this time, they light up the sky. It was already dark when I reached Marawi.
What is the commonality of the two Martial Law declarations?
The destruction of Marawi City.
It was revealed from sources close to Marcos that the uprising was staged to justify the declaration of ML. There were questions then from the international community on the sufficiency of its declaration. Hence, they had to lit the fuse somewhere to legitimize ML.
On the 2nd declaration, thanks to President Duterte, the ISIS and Abu Sayyaf attacked, so the gov’t must respond in defense of the country’s sovereignty.
Except that Malacanang was wracked by a scandalous controversy after another and public indignation was eroding the President’s credibility to lead this country.
Recall Paulo Duterte being dared by Sen. Trillanes to show his tatoo in a senate hearing on the 11 Billions worth of drugs confiscated by the BOC but later inexplicably released.
So Marawi had to be destroyed.
This is not new to us. Erap had his Mindanao War in 2000 when his Jueteng involvement pushed him to the brink of resignation.
Muslim Mindanao has been at the receiving end of maneuverings whenever Malacanang is beleaguered by political controversies.
Malacanang should not wonder why radicalism creeps into the psyche of some Muslim youths. People have sense of what is happening around them.
Bad faith on the part of those wielding powers has been the singlemost cause of the elusive peace in Mindanao.
Time to change.