Multi-Sectoral Human Rights Forum: Army is Community’s Partner in Peace and Development during Martial Law

The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Joint Task Force Marawi, Rajan Lanao Inc., and Mindanao State University held a forum dubbed “Understanding the Law Under a Martial Rule: Multi-Sectoral Forum on Martial Law and Human Rights with the theme: “Championing Rights And Rebuilding Marawi, A Collective Goal Amidst the Rift of Times,” on October 14, 2017 at the Pavilion, College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Mindanao State University, Main Campus, Marawi City.

More than 100 participants who joined the event represented the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, academe, youth, local government units, different line agencies of the government, business sectors, religious and cultural leaders, and civil society organizations.

The whole day activity was aimed at updating the participants on current laws and jurisprudence related to the implementation of Martial Law.

Maj. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Philippine Army’ Commanding General said in his keynote message delivered by Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations (G7):

“Your Philippine Army appreciates your concerns regarding the declaration of Martial Law in our island of Mindanao. We welcome your viewpoints that may provide us a wider perspective for the efficient implementation of government programs in the affected areas.

As this Multi-Sectoral Forum provides a platform for dialogue and discussion among us, we have an opportunity to arrive to a common understanding and resolve on issues and questions at hand. Your Army appreciates the need for a united effort with you, who are the prime movers of the communities we serve, in our pursuit of peace and development, not only in Marawi City, but in the rest of Mindanao and the country as a whole.”

Resource speakers in the forum included: Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera; Atty. Mabandes S. Diron Jr, (Human Rights in the Philippines); Atty. Hamid Barra (Marawi Siege from a Civilian Perspective); Cpt. Michael O. Malacad (Marawi Crisis Situationer); Cpt. Mark Dumalan (Understanding the Martial Law); Atty. Norhabib Bin Suod Barodi (A Perspective on Land Rights Issues and the Marawi Crisis; and Police Superintendent Ebra M. Moxsir PNP (Law Enforcement in the Context of Martial Law).

Maj. Gen. Bautista said:

“As head of your Philippine Army, I am rallying our soldiers and other security sectors to strive in our initiatives in serving and protecting you and the community. I am assuring you that every member of our forces is properly guided to uphold human rights and the rule of law while implementing Martial Law. Any one in our ranks who will violate the law will be dealt accordingly. Your Army will keep on our operations in accordance to International Humanitarian Law and Rules of Engagements while maintaining harmonious relationships with civilians.

Even when the fighting ends in Marawi, our fight for better and peaceful communities will continue. Even when the implementation of Martial Law has been suspended, your army will always continue to be your partner for peace and development.

The insights and contributions of participants and speakers of today’s Multi-Sectoral Forum will become an important part of the healing as we take the necessary steps in rebuilding Marawi. Your soldiers will be with you in rebuilding Marawi. We will continue to be your partner in peace building efforts to provide a better peaceful environment for our children.”

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