Martial Law extension in Mindanao: A positive development for peace and security

The House of Representatives and Philippine Senate granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law for another 12 months in Mindanao in a special joint session on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

In his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Dec. 6, Duterte said rebellion still persists in Mindanao and public safety “requires the continuation of martial law”.

The two houses of Philippine Congress voted 235-28-1 in favor of martial extension from January 1 to December 31, 2019 the said special joint session.

“The Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are grateful for the overwhelming vote of confidence of our legislators as well as the strong support of the Filipino people, especially of the Mindanaoans, which made possible the third Congressional Extension of Martial Law in Mindanao,” Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said the AFP will continue to uphold its mandate of defending the sovereignty of the state, upholding the integrity of Philippine territory and protecting the democratic way of life of the Filipino people, with full respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and the primacy of the rule of law.

Pakaiingatan po namin ang tiwalang ito mula sa sambayanan at makakaasa po kayo na hindi ito masasayang (Rest assured that we will uphold the people’s trust),” Lorenzana said.

“We appreciate this grant that lengthens the period of martial law implementation mindful that it is impressed with enormous responsibility on the part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to quell the rebellion that persists in Mindanao and prevent lawless violence by local terrorist groups from spreading to other parts of the country,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

“Apart from that reason, the extension seeks not only to sustain the economic gains owing to the peace and security in Mindanao, it also responds to positively to the clamor of local government executives to extend martial law implementation in the island because of law and order it provides to their constituents,” Arevalo said.

“This is a good day for the people of Mindanao to be assured of another full year of peace and security against the imminent threat of violence from extremist and communist terrorist forces,” PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the approval by Congress of the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao is “a positive development”.

“We thank our lawmakers for sharing the Executive’s view that the extension is purely intended for the general welfare and well-being of the people of Mindanao,” Panelo said.

Panelo said public safety demands decisive action from the President, “whose primordial mandate is to protect and serve the people”.

“Further, it is our shared responsibility to ensure the integrity of our nation, the security of our people and the sustained growth and development of Mindanao,” Panelo said.

“With the continuation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, we expect to achieve substantial progress in addressing the persisting rebellion in Mindanao, as well as promoting the overall security and peace and order situation in the island,” Panelo said.

Panelo said “the fundamental rights and liberties of our citizens shall at all times be respected and that our uniformed services shall, act strictly within the confines of their mandate”.

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