LOS ANGELES – For Filipino activists in the United States, martial law is familiar territory.
Tony Dorono, for example, was a protest movement organizer during martial law in the '80s, and received death threats as he pursued his activism.
Now, he and other Filipinos are back on the streets calling for a stop to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“When you hear this new president declaring martial law with the prospect of all throughout the country, then your memory returns to the fact that I have been through martial law during Marcos' time,” said Dorono, executive director of the Filipino Migrant Center.
The martial law declaration comes as peace talks between the government and rebel groups are expected to resume in the coming days.
“We feel the recent declaration of martial law in the Philippines clearly violates one of those agreements, which is the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law), which has ultimately been signed because it is supposed to uphold human rights in the Philippines,” said Nikole Cababa of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan USA.
“Martial law clearly violates that, and we urge President Duterte to be more concerned about the socioeconomic reforms that can address poverty in the Philippines.”
Shortly before they took to the streets, Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz hosted the protesters in his office to hear their concerns.
He is forwarding the activitists' sentiments to the president’s office, which has released a statement and video on Thursday outlining the process of martial law, hoping to ease concerns and stop any misinformation.