NEW YORK — Jane Orendain was among the Filipinos who protested against the Marcos dictatorship at the Philippine Consulate in New York in the late 70’s.
She also traveled to Washington DC to convince US politicians and lawmakers to cut their ties with the Marcoses, and recognize then President Cory Aquino as the new democratic leader in the Philippines in 1986.
Today, she is back on the streets of Manhattan, fighting another martial law.
“I suspect that this martial law in Mindanao is just the beginning of martial law in the Philippines,” said Orendain. “When this building opened during Marcoses’ time, I was on this sidewalk, I was on the streets of New York the entire martial law. Never again, never again, not in my lifetime…”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, in the wake of a deadly confrontation between the Maute terror group and the Philippine military in Marawi City.
Orendain believes martial law is not the only answer to defeating terrorism in the Philippines.
“It takes away too many people’s rights, civil rights, rights to free speech, etc etc… to your civil rights as a citizen. So the only good thing about martial law is, maybe, the curfew.”
These non-Filipino protesters they believe peace talks are the way to go.
“We think that there needs to be an immediate continuation of the peace talks and an immediate end to martial law,” said Taryn Fivek.
Iraq Veterans Against the War member Julio Torres says martial law is not an option to fight terrorism.
“Other countries have dealt with terrorism without doing martial law,” he said. “There’s better ways to build relations with the community; if there is terrorism, the community would be able to better handle it themselves without martial law for sure…”
But for supporters of President Duterte, they believe martial law is the only answer to the war on terror in Marawi City.
“I believe that President Duterte really has not much choice but to declare [martial law]… and it’s to control, so that in a short time you’ll be able to assume the peace that he really would like,” said Prospero Lim. “For the martial law to have teeth, he has to impose everything that is included there.”
As the Philippines’ war on terror in Mindanao continues, protesters are left asking if there is anything the Philippine military could have done in its fight against religious extremists without martial law.
How exactly has martial law enhanced their fight against the so-called ISIS sympathizers in Marawi City?