Mindanao martial law extended until Dec. 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Mindanao martial law extended until Dec. 2019

  • Duterte first imposed martial law in Mindanao in May 2017, after Daesh fighters seized the city of Marawi

MANILA: Martial law will be extended in the Philippine island of Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019, after Congress on Wednesday approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request.

Duterte first imposed martial law in Mindanao in May 2017, after Daesh-inspired fighters seized the city of Marawi. After a 60-day grace period, he asked for and was granted a five-month extension.

The president in his latest request cited a security assessment by the military, and the police indicating that terrorism remained a problem on the island. He wrote to Congress saying the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Daulah Islamiyah (DI) and other militant groups continued to defy the government by carrying out hostile activities.

Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of his request, with 235 for and 28 against.

“A further extension of the implementation of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao will enable the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),  the PNP (Philippine National Police) and all other law enforcement agencies to finally put an end to the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao and continue to prevent the same from escalating in other parts of the country,” Duterte said in his letter.

“We cannot afford to give the rebels further breathing room to regroup and strengthen their forces. Public safety indubitably requires such further extension in order to avoid the further loss of lives and physical harm, not only to our soldiers and the police, but also to our civilians.”

Some of those who voted against the extension said there was no constitutional basis for it or anything that looked like an uprising. 

There was also concern about further unrest in Mindanao.

"Prolonged martial rule in a large area affecting the lives of millions of our citizens is authoritarian and contrary to our constitutional democracy. Worse, it will not improve the economic welfare of our citizens," said opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Other lawmakers said there was not enough evidence that the whole of Mindanao was under threat.

Frederick Siao, from Mindanao, asked the government to produce clear and verifiable results but backed the president’s request.

"99 percent of my constituents in Iligan City are in favor of martial law extension in the whole of Mindanao. I ask the government to slash away security threats by at least 30 percent, decimate lawless groups in one year. There is no forever martial law in Mindanao."


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 29 min 8 sec ago
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.