The Archbishop of Coabato City asked Mindanaoans to be calm in the face of Martial Law declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“Be obedient to the just commands of lawful authority, and not to provoke violent reaction,” Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, O.M.I. said in his statement released on Friday night.
Quevedo said the President has just responded to the Marawi crisis by placingthe entire Mindanao under Martial Rule .
He said many are objecting the decision mainly beccause of the horrors of the first Martial Law experience under the Marcos regime while supporting the new declaration as justified.
“We are aware that the problems of peace and order, of the continuing disruptive activities of other rebel groups, the problems of criminality and drugs, of corruption and underdevelopment are in every nook and corner of Mindanao,” Quevedo said.
Quevedo said Mindanao problems go beyond the city limits of Marawi.
“Martial Law is a means of last resort. Are moral principles fulfilled? Were other means to resolve the deep and wide serious problems of Mindanao impractical and ineffective? Will the positive effects of Martial Law outweigh the negative effects? Will there be probability of success? Will it bring about a culture of accountability and end a culture of impunity? Will Martial Law increase human rights violations? Will Martial Law be abused for evil purposes?” he said.
He said the answers to many questions are still speculative.
“We have many fears. But at present we simply do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of Martial Law as morally reprehensible,” he said.
But, Quevedo said he and the other bishops in Mindanao agreed that Martial Law must be temporary.
“We shall condemn any abuse of Martial Law and as in the past will condemn it outright if it goes in the way of evil. Let us be vigilant,” he said.
He urged the government to remove the causes of terrorism, such as poverty and injustice, through just and accountable governance focused solely on the common good.