COTABATO CITY – Fearing human rights abuses, Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said putting the entire province of Sulu under martial law will do more harm than good.
Hataman said the plan was unpopular and could trigger massive human rights violations, similar to the 1970s when then President Marcos put the country under military rule.
He said there were other options the government might consider and could be effective in neutralizing the extremist Abu Sayyaf who beheaded a second Canadian national after his family failed to raise the Php 600 million ransom demand.
The regional executive said he had been supportive to all government efforts in putting down the ASG except declaring martial law.
One of the options, he said, was a joint military, police and navy offensives while the local government units took charge of the residents.
“Local officials down to the barangay level must participate, they will be held accountable and responsible if they do not act,” Hataman said, adding he could issue an Executive Order ordering civilians in areas where the military operation is taking place to temporarily relocate.
“The local government takes care of their needs,” he said.
Explaining why he opposed martial law, Hataman said the Moro people have suffered so much under martial law. The experience they had in the 70 remain traumatic to many Bangsamoro people.
He was particularly afraid of human rights abuses as in the past.
Earlier, he condemned the beheading of Canadian kidnap victim Robert Hall, describing the act as barbaric and un-Islamic.
He said the Abu Sayyaf Group is composed of people “who tread the path of violence and claim to do it in the name of Islam are, without question, merely men of sin who distort a faith that stands for peace.” Edwin Fernandez/ PNA/ northboundasia.com