Mindanao

Filipino socialist group, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), released the statement slightly abridged below on September 3 after the Australian government announced to it would send special forces to work with the murderous Rodrigo Duterte regime in Mindanao in the name of the “war on terror”.

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The PLM demands that the Australian government withdraw the two Australian air force Orion spy planes participating in combat since June in Marawi, Mindanao, and abandon plans announced by Australian government ministers to send special forces.

In a move reminiscent of Australia’s infamous military ties to Indonesia’s murderous Suharto dictatorship, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on September 1 that Australia would send special forces to the Philippines.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 24 reflected his government’s increasing trajectory towards dictatorship. Outside, protest marches converged on the parliamentary complex at Batasan, reflecting the growing grassroots opposition to the worsening dictatorial trend.

Filipino police and military forces in the small city of Marawi on the island of Mindanao attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf criminal gang, on May 23. By the end of the day, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government had declared martial law throughout the island for 60 days and launched a military assault.

By June 2, that ongoing assault, including air strikes, had killed at least 160 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

This dramatic escalation represents the further slide of Duterte’s administration towards authoritarian rule and a betrayal of his election campaign promise to pursue a negotiated end to Mindanao’s multiple insurgencies.

The following statement was released by Filipino socialist party Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on May 25 in response to the government's May 23 declaration of martial law in Mindanao for a 60-day period.

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