SAN FRANCISCO — Candles were offered as a sign of hope, unity, and peace for the Philippines, especially in Mindanao.
After the violence in Marawi, and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte, kababayans in the Philippines and abroad have been critical of actions of the President.
However, during this inter-faith prayer rally held at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, organized by the Brotherhood for Duterte USA — they say such criticism is not justified.
“A lot of people, especially non-Mindanao people, are saying ‘Hey, we are against marital law and so on and so forth,’ but if you ask the folks from Mindanao they really love it,” said Bong Aralar.
“They feel safer with all of this military and police around them,” said Jane Tan-ali.
Many of these Filipinos say that they remember living under martial law during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos. However, in these modern times, they say the military and police under Duterte are more lawful and focused on fighting the insurgency.
The inter-faith rally had Christian, Jewish, and Islamic representatives, all praying for peace.
Muslim layman Stan Aze Ali reminds people that Islam is a religion of peace, and that extreme fundamentalists are using the Quran to justify their evil actions.
“When you use those verses to the youth who have no idea or they cannot conceptualize where those verses came from,or the context in which those verses were created, that’s where you get this pervasion of Islam where they are trying to incite people to violence and struggle for more things.”
While some of these kababayans say that martial law is necessary for Mindanao, they do not believe that Duterte has any plans to expand martial law throughout the country.