WP #44: Political Anxiety, Resistance, and Mass Support under Duterte’s Martial Law

In “Everyday Voices in Marginal Places: Political Anxiety, Resistance, and Mass Support under Duterte’s Martial Law”, Eliseo F. Huesca Jr and Dr. Margie D. Fiesta examine ordinary people’s sentiments and perspectives on Duterte’s imposition of martial law following the Marawi siege of May 2017.

Authors: Eliseo F. Huesca Jr. and Margie D. Fiesta

Abstract: This paper examines ordinary people’s voices by foregrounding their sentiments and perspectives on Duterte’s imposition of martial law following the Marawi siege in May 2017. The paper purposively privileges the voices of everyday citizens, which are often overlooked, to generate alternative viewpoints to the elite-driven narratives dominating political discourses and counter-discourses. Drawing on 4-month extensive fieldwork in south-central Mindanao, we surface how martial law has caused political anxiety, resistance, and widespread support despite its tentativeness and apparent perplexities. We argue that the prevailing narratives of those in the peripheries of Mindanao directly affected by martial law are sharply in contrast to the chilling and attention-grabbing headlines. While the political atmosphere initially turned precarious and tumultuous, the apparent military rule in fragile areas of Mindanao has actually gained traction and widespread support. The article concludes that the populist appeal of Duterte’s version of the military rule is synoptic of the multiple and pervasive sources of insecurity in large part of Mindanao. Additionally, the public enticement of the current martial law is symptomatic of swelling frustrations on the shortcomings of state’s apparatuses working within “democratic terms” in addressing personal and communal insecurities.

Keywords: Duterte, Mindanao, martial law, everyday politics, everyday voices

About the Authors: Eliseo F. Huesca Jr. is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Asian Studies, University of Brunei Darussalam. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Business and Public Affairs, Davao Oriental State University, Philippines. In 2009-2011, he was a JDS Fellow at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan where he earned his MA in Public Administration. He was a recipient of the 2017 Asian Graduate Research Fellowship awarded by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. His PhD research project revolves on diffusion and localization of global norms at sub-national level with emphasis on UNSC Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security).

Contact: elsoniasubd@gmail.com; 15h1103@ubd.edu.bn

Dr. Margie D. Fiesta teaches Psychology courses at the College of Arts and Sciences, Mindanao State University-Maguindanao, Philippines. She is also one of the core faculty members for graduate program on Peace and Development and a former Director of Institute of Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) at the same university. She was previously a Professor at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City where she obtained her PhD in Peace and Development.

IAS Working Paper Editorial Committee:
Professor Lian Kwen Fee (kwenfee.lian@ubd.edu.bn)
Assistant Professor Merlin F. Franco (merlin.francis@ubd.edu.bn)

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