DAVAO CITY—Almost 500 delegates of the summit coming from various provinces in Mindanao chanted “Never Again to Martial Law” today in opposition to the Arroyo government’s declaration of Martial Law last night.
The calls resonated during the 2nd Mindanao Human Rights Summit held in the city which was attended by delegates from the church, academe, indigenous people, and other non-government organizations from all over Mindanao.
“We have to oppose it right at this very moment to register that we will never ever again allow a dictator to ruin the efforts of promoting peace and justice,” said Bishop Delfin Callao, Jr., convener of Exodus for Justice and Peace.
“The declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao comes as a danger that has been bound to happen to save the face of President Arroyo for her accountability in the Ampatuan massacre,” Callao said.
“We should learn our lesson, that the declaration of martial law is tantamount to allowing more gross human rights violations to be inflicted against the people especially those who are vocal critics of the government. And let us not forget that without the respect of human rights there can be no genuine peace and justice,” he said.
Commission on Human Rights chairperson Leila de Lima also condemns the declaration of Martial law and believes that it is not anymore needed just to apprehend the perpetrators of the massacre. De Lima gave a speech on the Human Rights Situation in Mindanao during the summit. Also present was Nick Taylor, Development Councilor of the European Union.
Bishop Delfin Callao, Jr.
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