Press Release
June 15, 2006


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara yesterday warned the administration against being stampeded into martial law as a result of the series of bombings that has hit Metro Manila and some localities in the provinces.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has the sole authority under the Constitution to declare martial law, should not allow herself to be stampeded or rushed to declaring martial law by some hawkist advisers who might use the bombings to urge her to proclaim military rule, said Angara.

In a media interview, Angara recalled that the nation did not benefit and even suffered a great deal when he declared martial law in 1972, using the bombings in various parts of Metro Manila as his excuse. We must learn a lesson from recent history.

However, Angara urged the law-enforcement authorities, including the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, to exert all efforts to apprehend those responsible for the bombings, and ascertain their reasons and motives in order to guide the administration in adopting policies suited to the situation.

We must remember in the 14 years following the declaration of martial law, Filipinos lost their civil and political rights, thousands were arrested and detained without warrant and valid reasons, and the economy was set back, with the country under dictatorship ending up with a huge $25 billion foreign debt, said Angara.

It was during the 70s and the early 80s that the Philippines lost its economic ascendancy among the Asian nations, with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and even Vietnam outpacing us in economic growth, observed Angara. This should instruct us that military rule is not the answer both to our insurgency and economic woes.

Angara pointed out that the late President Ramon Magsaysay crushed the Huk rebellion, which had been going on since Liberation, not by declaring martial law but by adopting an effective counter-insurgency strategy, coupled with economic and social incentives, such as giving lands to the rebels and offering their children educational scholarships.

It was in the 50s, after the quashing of the Huk rebellion, that the Philippines became second to Japan in economic development, after the government achieved internal peace and unity and instituted economic and social reforms, Angara said.

He declared that a mailed-fist or confrontational approach against the political opposition and social dissidents would not work against Filipinos who have a history of fighting tyranny as shown by the numerous revolts during the 400 years of Spanish occupation, culminating in the 1896 nationalist revolution. This was repeated in the 1986 people power revolution against dictatorship.

Angara said that a conciliatory and adaptable approach by the Arroyo administration against its critics and the opposition might work better than uncompromising hostility and confrontation, such as that adopted by the administration against the Senate.

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