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Extension of martial law in Mindanao, not necessary – CHR

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018 03:08 PM


(file photo)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is not convinced that an extension of martial law in Mindanao is necessary at this point.

CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said they have been opposing the imposition of martial law in the region because they believe that the power of the President is enough to solve the problems of terrorism in the country.

“Kasi nakalagay sa Saligang Batas, only in cases of actual invasion or rebellion. Hindi po kasama dito ang tinatawag na lawless violence. At patuloy po kaming naninindigan na sa extensions nito ay hindi rin kailangan,” Gascon said.

CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline De Guia, meanwhile, believes the government troops are fully equipped for the job and extension of martial law is no longer necessary.

“It has been the position of the Commission on Human Rights that our security forces are fully capable of addressing lawless violence in the country without the need for martial law,” she said.

She added that: “As such, there has to be a strong reason should the government move for another extension—based on the sound recommendation of our Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police on the real situation on the ground.”

Gascon, meanwhile, stressed that the situation at present is different compared with the martial law during the regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in terms of intention.

Nevertheless, the CHR vows to be vigilant in monitoring for possible violations of human rights along the way.

For his part, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay fear the extension of martial law may only be utilized by people with much interest for charter change.

“So exactly the same story that we have during Marcoses time na martial law can be used to expedite charter change,” he said.

But Malacañang clarified that the proposal to extend the implementation of martial law in Mindanao region remains under study by President Rodrigo Duterte. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Jolo blasts ‘more reason’ for martial law – Palace

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 28 January 2019 04:01 PM

Jolo, Sulu blast site | Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was enraged by the recent twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on the morning of Sunday (January 27).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President was also disappointed that the despite the government’s efforts to attain lasting peace in Mindanao, the enemies of the state are acting otherwise.

“He is so disappointed that despite the movement to thread the path towards peace and development, there are still certain forces in that region who sow terror and kill and murder people,” Panelo said.

What happened in Jolo, Panelo said, is more than enough reason to retain the declaration of martial law in the Mindanao region.

However, Panelo said it was an isolated case and more of such incidents might happened if martial law was not in place.

“With (it) more reason that martial law should be in place. Because if you can do that under the martial law regime, then the more reason you should maintain it and be more strict in the implementation of the measures in that area,” the Presidential Spokesperson explained hitting those critical of martial law extension in Mindanao.

Malacañang admitted, however, that there might have been security lapses on the day of the bombing that’s why the perpetrators were able to plant the explosives in strategic areas inside and outside the church building.

“There may be some lapses in security, how they were able to put there is that a motorcycle with a bomb despite the fact that there were soldiers securing the place,” Panelo said.

The Chief Executive ordered the military to enforce stringent measures not only to Jolo but in all areas across the country to prevent such horrific incident to reoccur.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has joined the investigation as directed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and file appropriate charges to those responsible for the crime. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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REPASO 2018: Dengvaxia scare, communist terrorism and the Martial Law

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 1 January 2019 01:31 AM


The trauma of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine has caused the government the public’s trust to its other vaccination programs.

Measles cases in the country soared by more than 300% last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This was because of the public’s fear of having the same fate as the alleged Dengvaxia vaccinees whose death remain uncertain to this day, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“There is a significant drop in the confidence of our people in the immunization program of the DOH from 92% to measly 33%. Ang laki ng bagsak talaga,” Duque said.

It was a “lesson learned the hard way”, the DOH said, referring to the impact of the Dengvaxia controversy.

That’s why the agency wants to change how the public views of the agency.


A hearing on the controversial dengue vaccine

“Kung mag-i-introduce ka ng new health program, mag-i-introduce ka ng bagong bakuna,  bagong intervenyion kailangan talaga pag- aralan mo. Kailangan kompleto talaga ang iyong ebidensya. Kailangan alam mo ang magiging resulta. You have to communicate it properly doon sa mga recipients, kailangan naitindinhan din ng recipients kung ano iyong tinatanggap nila,” explained Health Spokesperson Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

But aside from the health concerns, the government also faced challenges in security this year.

President Rodrigo Duterte once again requested Congress to extend the declaration of Martial Law in the province of Mindanao for another year or until December 31, 2019.

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_110117_Marawi City

FILE PHOTO: Marawi City ruins (UNTV News)

According to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the extension is needed as terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), Daulah Islamiya and other terrorist groups sowing fear in the region.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that Mindanao is still in the midst of rebellion,” Medialdea said.

Several lawmakers opposed the proposal but later on, martial law was extended for the third time in Mindanao since it was declared on May 2017 when the Maute terror group conquered Marawi City.

The communist New People’s Army (NPA) also remains a challenge to the Philippine government.


FILE PHOTO: New People’s Army in formation

The military revealed an alleged ‘Red October’ plot, an oust-Duterte movement allegedly formed by the communist rebels backed by opposition groups.The two groups denied the allegations but according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), they have recovered documents in some encounters with NPA proving that they were plotting a destabilization against the government.

Meanwhile, the government did not declare a ceasefire this year even after the communist group announced their declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.

According to the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) they did not recommend to reciprocate the communists’ ceasefire declaration because leftists were not sincere of their intention and they would just use the ceasefire to strengthen their arms.

Meanwhile, a resolution was submitted to Congress calling the President to revive the peace negotiations with the Reds.

But the President remained cold towards the proposed resumption of peace talks.

Instead, he said he preferred to create a hit squad to match the NPA’s sparrow unit.

“So mag-create ako ng sparrow (unit), Duterte death squad against the sparrow,” the President said.

In December, the President issued Executive Order 70 which created a National Task Force tasked to eliminate the rebel group.

This, despite the continuous surrender of NPA members in different parts of the country through the efforts of military on localized peace talks. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Makabayan bloc to question martial extension before SC

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 14 December 2018 08:37 AM

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc plan to elevate to the Supreme Court the third extension of martial law in Mindanao which Congress approved on Wednesday.

The group said the government and concerned agencies failed to prove there is on-going rebellion in the region that would warrant a yearlong extension of martial law.

“We will definitely still maximize an arena where we can present our case,” said Anakpawis partylist representative, Ariel Casilao. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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