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Philippine bishop: Martial law makes farce of Independence Day

Martial law in the southern Philippines and security forces’ clashes with a local terrorist group in Mindanao made a mockery of Independence Day celebrations on 12th June, said a Philippine bishop.

“As long as there is martial law and unrest in Marawi City, the ‘independence’ of our nation is a farce,” said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon. His remarks were reported by ucanews.com.

The celebration was marred by protest rallies and demonstrations condemning ongoing clashes in Mindanao and martial law.

Bishop Bastes said by declaring martial law, the government “trample(s) on the freedom of citizens.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the southern region of Mindanao on 23rd May after a local terrorist organisation claiming to have ties with Daesh attempted to occupy Marawi.

“People are not in the mood for celebrating,” said the bishop, adding that he supported the demonstrations against the declaration of martial law “in my own little way.”

Picture: Activists carry an illuminated sign reading ‘Stop the Killings’ during a 12th June protest rally to mark Philippines Independence Day in Manila. The protesters condemn the government’s policies on the declaration of martial law and US military intervention in Mindanao. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA).