Government strengthens guidelines against lawless violence

With the recent acts of lawless violence in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental, and Bicol Region, the Philippine government issued Memorandum Order (MO) No. 32 on November 22, 2018 to reinforce the standard procedures that police and military have been utilizing to implement measures against lawless violence in the country.

“There is a need to reinforce the directive of the President in order to prevent further loss of innocent lives and destruction of property and bring the whole country back to a state of complete normalcy as quick as possible,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in the MO.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Proclamation No. 55 on September 4, 2016, declaring state of national emergency in Mindanao in response to the Davao City night market bombing on September 2, 2016 where 15 reportedly died and 70 others were injured.

Proclamation No. 55 directed the Armed Forces (AFP) of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake measures, “as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws,” to prevent lawless violence from spreading and escalating in the country.

“To ensure respect and protection of the fundamental civil and political rights of our citizens, there is a need to reiterate the measures that the AFP and PNP can undertake during the state of national emergency on account of lawless violence,” MO No. 32 states.

The security forces are directed to ensure that constitutional rights of every individual shall be respected at all times. “Any AFP or PNP personnel found violating any of the foregoing rights shall be held administratively, civilly or criminally liable therefor,” MO No. 32 states.

The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall coordinate the immediate deployment of additional military and police forces in concerned areas particularly in Samar, Negros provinces, and Bicol, Medialdea said.

To intensify efforts against lawless violence, the AFP, PNP, and the Department of Justice (DOJ), shall intensify close coordination measures with each other and other law enforcement agencies and intelligence communities.

All local government units throughout the country are instructed to provide full support and cooperation to ensure the effective implementation of MO No. 32.

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