Updated: Martial Law, the 1972 Marawi Uprising and the 2017 Marawi Siege: What have they in common?

Looking Back

with Ding Yahya

Today, Sept. 21, 2021, is the 49th anniversary of the 1972 Martial Law. This is the first martial rule that the Philippines has been placed under. The second Martial Law was declared by President Duterte on May 24, 2017, a day after a group of Muslim militants or terrorists laid siege on Marawi City.

One month after the late President Marcos placed the country under Martial Law, the Maranaos responded with the Marawi Uprising of October 21, 1972.

Suod Barodi, a Marawian, called the uprisers young amateurs going to battle without rifles but bolos, and he thought then the uprising was a sham, a political maneuver that would last only for a week or less.

“Sadly,” he lamented, “this bad experience had embedded a disastrous mindset to every Marawian that the Marawi siege would only last for a week, and, hence, did not bring essentials, close their houses, and evacuate with thought of returning immediately when armed clashes subsided.”

I, myself, had the same mindset of leaving essentials at home thinking I would return in a couple of days when the fighting lasted. There was then this friend of mine from the 103rd Brigade who told me this would not last more than a week.

They were wrong. I was wrong. The siege lasted for 5 months, and upon return those essential things kept in every residence were gone. And worst, the town center of Marawi was devastated as if intentionally chosen for the destruction.

The Uprising was an amateur revolutionary act. But it somehow brought out many a good thing. The world had learned or confirmed there was an armed struggle for self-determination in this part of the continent after which so many good and a few bad things happened.

In the case of the 2017 Marawi Siege, many observers think it seemed a professional maneuver. The timing, the readiness and the methodology seemed all preset.

But what have Martial Law, the Uprising and the Siege in common? Prominent Maranao leader Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr. said it is the destruction of the Maranao city, Marawi. (MNY)

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