State of Emergency in the Philippines

February 27, 2006

On February 24, the president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, issued a proclamation declaring "emergency rule."

Arroyo's proclamation came as the regime is facing growing opposition from broad sectors of the society. In the forefront of the struggle are demands against the growing U.S.-Filipino military alliance, the joint military "exercises" held on Filipino territory, the escalating repression against the people carried out by the U.S.-Arroyo government in the name of the "war on terrorism," and the surrender of Filipino sovereignty to U.S. imperialism.

All opposition protests have been banned and troops and other security forces have been put on full alert. Civil rights have been suspended and arrests without warrants and detention without charges are allowed. Police have already carried out raids of newspaper offices, arresting many reporters.

Despite the ban on protests, however, thousands of Filipino people demonstrated in the streets, confronting police who used fire hoses and batons in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Below we reprint excerpts from a 2/25 statement by Professor Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Gloria M. Arroyo has issued Proclamation 1017 to combine a declaration of a state of emergency and invocation of commander-in-chief authority to call the troops to suppress rebellion. By this proclamation, she claims to have the power to prohibit peaceful assemblies, revoke rally permits issued ministerially by local mayors, order warrantless arrests, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, take over the mass media and public utilities, superimpose military officers on civilian authorities, and so on.

The real malevolent objective of Arroyo in issuing the proclamation is to suppress the people's assemblies in the nationwide anniversary celebration of the events of 22-25 February 1986 that resulted in the overthrow of Marcos. She is terribly afraid that the people's mass actions critical of her rotten and hated regime would encourage her own military and police forces to withdraw support from her.

Indeed, she has undertaken so-called preemptive actions by ordering the arrest of military and police officers suspected of opposing her regime and revoking rally permits nationwide and ordering the violent dispersal of people in peaceful assembly....

Proclamation 1017 is a tyrannical act of desperation by an utterly isolated usurper of authority and her small coterie. It maliciously misrepresents the movement of the people and the broad united front as a mere conspiracy of the so-called extremes of the Left and the Right. It proves that Arroyo will go to any length, including the bloody suppression of the people and her opponents. It is the prelude to worse tyrannical acts to come if the people and the broad united front of patriotic, progressive and all other anti-Arroyo forces do not act promptly to stop her....

The people hate the Arroyo regime for its puppetry to foreign interests, electoral fraud, corruption, brutality and mendacity....

[The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People's Army are struggling] to replace the Arroyo regime on a program of upholding national sovereignty and independence, realizing genuine land reform and national industrialization, promoting a patriotic, democratic and scientific culture, carrying out an independent foreign policy for peace and development and opting for truce and alliance with the revolutionary forces against foreign and local oppressors and exploiters.