DND mulling over lifting of martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1700

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday said that evaluations and consultations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are ongoing regarding the lifting of martial law in Mindanao as soon as possible.

DND Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong made the statement after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte expressed her desire to lift the martial law in her area of jurisdiction and other places that are relatively peaceful.

“The lifting of martial law in Mindanao is constantly being evaluated by the Defense Department and there are regular consultations with the AFP and PNP regarding this. In fact, we would like to lift martial law in Mindanao as soon as possible but this should only be done after a complete assessment and validation by the security sector and local governments before we recommend it to the President,” he said in a message sent to reporters.

Andolong said the DND takes cognizance of Mayor Duterte’s proposal to only impose martial law in areas where peace and order remain unstable.

“We value the wisdom and firsthand knowledge of our local executives of the prevailing security environment in their respective communities and we always take their observations and recommendations into consideration,” he added.

Andolong noted that in February this year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Supreme Court that the lifting of the military rule would be recommended by July 1 if amendments to the existing Human Security Act were passed in the Legislature.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” he said.

In a joint session held last December 2018, Congress approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

The military recommended another year-long extension of the martial rule in a bid to totally neutralize terror groups operating in the region.

Martial law was first declared in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 when Islamic State-linked Maute group attacked Marawi City. (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to announce final decision on reduced physical distancing in public transport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte will make his final decision on Thursday (September 17) regarding the reduction of physical distancing in public transportation.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said doctors have opposing opinions on the matter and added that last meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Against COVID-19 even took six hours discussing the issue.

“Ang mga doctor iba-iba rin po ang mga pananaw. Wala pong isang opinyon pagdating dito sa pagbawas ng isang dangkal lang naman na social distancing sa pampublikong mga transportation (Our doctors have varying opinions. There is no unified opinion when it comes to social distancing in public transportation),” he said on Wednesday (September 16) during a press briefing.

Roque also said the IATF based their recommendation to reduce physical distancing on research and advice from doctors.

“Ang rekomendasyon po ay isusumite kay Preisdente. Si Presidente na po ang magde-decide (The recommendation has been submitted to the President and he will be the one to decide), Roque said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte vows to support military in fight against extremism in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   August 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte leads the candle-lighting and the offering of flowers at the blast site at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on August 30, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time since his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte made his public appearance to visit Jolo, Sulu.

Specifically, the President visited the sites of the twin explosions that occurred on August 24 which killed a number of soldiers.

He delivered a short speech before the troops at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters where he vowed to give his full support to the military in fighting and eradicating terrorists activities in Mindanao. 

“Bilang isang Pilipino ibibigay ko sa inyo ang lahat ng suporta na kailangan ninyo para matupad ang inyong misyon dito sa Jolo (As a Filipino, I will give you all the support you need to accomplish your mission here in Jolo),” he said. 

“I commit myself to working with you my dear troops to ensure that these terrorists will have no future in this country,” he added.

During the ceremony, the President commended the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of peace and order in the province. 

President Duterte said that he regrets the situation in Mindanao and added that if not for the atrocities in the region, it could have attained the progress that the province has been aspiring for decades.

“For decades, Mindanao’s progress has been hindered by the threat of insurgency and extremism,” the President said. 

“Kung wala lang sana itong seed of hatred na nakalagay sa isip from generation to generation, sana ngayon maganda na ang buhay para sa lahat, (If only the seeds of hatred had not been planted in the minds of people from generation to generation, quality of life [in the region]would have improved for everyone by now),” he added.

The President appeals to all government forces to continue the fight against terrorism and work hard to achieve long lasting peace in the country. 

“If we cannot really agree,  then we fight and we fight hard hanggang magkaubusan na (until no one is left). Maybe by that time, kung ubos na ang lahat, wala ng giyera (when everyone is gone, the war would finally end)” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie COZ)

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Philippine army withdraws martial law recommendation for Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 31, 2020

The Philippine Army has withdrawn its recommendation to re-impose martial law in Sulu province after the twin blast incident in Jolo which killed 15 and injured 74 individuals.

Army Chief LtGen. Cirilito Sobejana said they respect the decision of the national leadership as well as the sentiment of the general public.

“I drop my recommendation for martial law declaration over Sulu despite the turmoil as there might be other better options,” he said in a statement.

“I always give due respect to the wisdom of our national leadership and the sentiment of the general public but I felt it appropriate to share with you that the military had displayed utmost professionalism and maturity during our martial law implementation in Sulu when I was the JTF (Joint Task Force) Sulu Commander in 2017,” he added.

Local officials have earlier expressed their opposition to the re-imposition of martial law in Sulu. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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