Understanding the Role of AFP and Military Professionalism in Connection to Martial Law

Laws, Rules, and Regulations are a thing that keeps a community, a city, or even a country in order. But with that sometimes comes some misunderstanding about its primary functions or its purpose as to how it was created in the first place. And that includes the bad perceptions that associate with unjust violence and maltreatment where it gives the martial law a bad eye in some people. Hence, its image shall get right.

The Martial Law back in the 70s gives a bad taste among
several Filipinos, leading to this. Source

The stigma of the Marcos-era Martial Law gets into the hearts and minds of each and every Filipino with various experiences and insights about it. Some may say it is as harsh wherein torture, injustices, and Human Rights Violations have taken place. Others may say that implementing it was the best thing a president would do that it coincides a peace of mind from petty criminals attempting to do heinous acts. 

Honest to goodness taken from the viewpoint of somebody raised and lived in the Western Part of Mindanao which is under Martial Law, its implementation is just as normal as it really is to be. To take some note, this is based on experience which takes place at present which is still in effect not until Marawi City gets flushed from bad elements. This is a far cry from the so-called atrocities as what the militant groups keep on reiterating throughout the protests they conduct in connections with Martial Law.

But this was just some insights taken from the people which go common on their stance with given variations of perspective. We are simply looking at the surface about the main interpretation of Martial Law which is within the understanding of an average person and their viewpoints of it. It is worthy to know more about the functions of the armed forces as well as the legal interpretations of Martial Law to understand its workings.

Embed from Getty Images

The 1987 constitution, after all of the so-called atrocities taken place under the "previous regime" of Marcos administration, is still stipulating the terms with regards to martial law. To know it further, it is situated on Article VII Sec. 18 of the constitution and it goes on as follows:

The President as Commander in Chief can place the Philippines or any part of it under martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus “in case of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it”

In this case, it can be seen as a necessity for it to get implemented for the aim of getting things in order as well as for the protection of the citizens from further harm that can be caused by sheer violence made by a local rebel force or a foreign power invading the homeland. This is some sort of emergency to put innocent lives out of harm's way in case a situation such as a battle conflict gets worse that it may incur casualties.

But, take note of this: The powers vested by the president in declaring martial law is limited where the rest lies to the legislative body like the congress to shorten or to lengthen the declaration. Add to that in this martial law, the civilian government still functions as it is as well as the local judicial courts. The only thing here is that there will be more checkpoints for inspection, soldiers deployed across the community, and people involved in rebellion getting arrested and gets freed if not judicially charged within three days. Obtained from Inquirer.net

Given the limits provided by the constitution, this is a martial law that doesn't equate to dictatorship as what protesters suggest given that checks and balances are all provided just to prevent any abuse of power such as this one as well as to mark out any possibility of injustices made throughout the process. And to understand it further, we shall learn about the role of the AFP as one who implements Martial Law.

More protests against Martial Law where it divides
the masses.

In a news report provided by GMA News about the martial law still taking place in Mindanao, it is ascertained that the AFP will do its job implementing it without doing any human rights violations as well as to keep their actions within the scope of the law, in particular, the 1987 constitution whereas mentioned earlier, judicial courts still functions and the citizens can report for any violable actions taken place.

Taking this through personal accounts, there are no reports of any violations taking place only except for checkpoints where showing Valid I.Ds as a necessity as well as the ever-increased visibility of soldiers downtown which is a no-surprise considering that it is a usual thing taking place in Mindanao. This validates a little bit further that the AFP is keen on its actions carefully which in itself is a welcoming thing to say.

Concerning Professionalism prevailing within the Armed Forces of the Philippines, it is worthy to know how it started and get evolved as time passes by. Taking this Thesis by Mr. Manuel Carlos of the Naval Postgraduate School in the United States about military professionalism (See PDF file here), The era of the Philippine colonial period under the United States influence and shaping the professionalist stance of the military until the present day. 

But there are periods in history that as provided in the thesis paper, give into account the times that military professionalism is in the crisis brought by the turbulent situation taking place in the country. Just for instance the martial law period in the 1970s under the Marcos regime where the Armed Forces get politicized due to the appointment of officers that are related or more loyal to the administration which resulted in de-professionalization of the military as it is primed more on authoritarian rule rather than its intended mandate to protect the country and its citizens. 

This kind of power gives the chills of those abused where their voices still echoing at present where the bad stigma of Martial Law prevails all thanks to the so-called authoritarian rule.

Taken to the context since the 1986 revolution, the Armed Forces of today is more professionalized than it was 30 years ago when a new civilian government under the first Aquino administration replaced the Marcos regime. 

The military professionalism, in this case, gets improved from the struggles made back then where military coups initiated by the Reform the Armed Forces (RAM) are prevalent which it shows the fragmented structure of the organization which by context a sad state that the first Aquino administration somehow overcome where reforms like having Philippine Constabulary integrated to what is become the civilian-controlled Philippine National Police and reforms that make the Armed Forces become at the present day.

With the lessons of the past, it may be worthy to say that many things can be learned out from the 1970s era of Martial Law where present constitutional parameters are put in place to prevent it from happening again. Add to that, the Armed Forces may be taken the lesson of the past which gives uttermost significance about military professionalism which at present still prevails. Hence, even with these things are in their respective place, it is still good as a citizen of this beloved country to keep vigilant about it where injustices and abuses still take place today.

Martial law is intended to protect society
from rebellion, invasion and any lawless
elements it coincides.
Here comes the account of yours truly who lived under the shadows of Martial Law in connection to the on-going conflict in Marawi City.

Life simply goes on as normal. There are no reports of any atrocities except for the number of checkpoints and visibility of the troops in the city. Add to that the numerous fly-by of military helicopters in the sky which is normal in that sense.

The feeling of being safe is there but with it comes the number of threats, sightings, and rumors where bandits in Marawi may spread across other cities. In the mind, it goes as one of the reasons why Martial Law is in effect across the island which is to prevent the violence to spread out and to simply contain it in one place like Marawi. 

The military is so far doing its job well retaking the city from the terrorists which they affiliate themselves to the Islamic State adhere to the Middle East. The military professionalism stance is showcased well where operations don't include various injustices and instead opted more to take the City back to normal where its citizens can live peacefully.

So, there is no surprise why people from Mindanao support the implementation of Martial Law where it is far from the atrocities made in the 70s. Peaceful lives prevail and the civilian government still functions as intended. However, with the stigma still echoing around, the protest continues with the essence of paranoia that atrocities may happen again. To take it to note, it is better to understand for a fact that the military of today is different from those in the past as well as that the constitutional safeguards that there will be no abuse of power.

A soldier has the mandate to protect his country from rebellion
and foreign invasion. And that is worthy to emphasize. Photo Source

The Armed Forces of the Philippines have one mandate which is worthy to emphasize. It is to defend the country and its constitution. To take note, Article XVI of the General Provisions of the 1987 Constitution outlines the role of the military especially Section 5 which is about defending the constitution and preservation of military professionalism by insulating the Armed Forces from partisan politics.

Simply speaking, there is only little to worry about the atrocities given the details aforementioned in this article. The Armed Forces are in line with the constitution and are practicing military professionalism based on the given provisions. This is something worth taking note of now, especially that several people have little idea about Martial Law, its provisions nor the roles taken by the military about it. Hence, every citizen deserves to know about it lest not to be simply gone ignorant about the provisions and parameters about it.

The soldiers have taken the oath which is for the country and its citizens. They are the ones willing to sacrifice their own lives for the country's survival, sustainability, and stability as well as to preserve law and order and the written constitution which defines the standpoint of the nation. The atrocities of the past may never be forgotten, but take note that today's situation is different from the past taking along the mistakes that have made and the lessons taken from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment




Total Pageviews To-Date

Webpage Visitors

Free counters!