Lorenzana not keen on another extension of martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019   •   419

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is not keen on recommending another extension of martial law in Mindanao after it expires on December 31, saying it has been going on for too long.

“Kung ako lang, I will not recommend anymore the extension. Matagal nang masyado eh. We can do our job naman,” Lorenzana told reporters in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Kaya nga, especially if the Senate or Congress can pass the, ‘yung Human Security Act na medyo mabigyan ng konting ngipin ‘yung ating law enforcement, then that’s a better arrangement than the martial law,” he added.

Proposed amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 aim to broaden the definition of terrorism, ease restrictions on surveillance and extend the lawful detention of suspected terrorists to 30 days from the current three days.

Lorenzana earlier said these proposed changes would help the police and the military identify terror suspects and build tighter cases against them.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.

However, Lorenzana said he will act accordingly if the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces decide to recommend another extension.

“We’ll see, we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said that President Rodrigo Duterte will take into consideration the recommendation of the defense and security officials before making a decision on whether or not to seek another extension of martial law.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Lorenzana’s pronouncement against prolonging martial rule would also be considered by the chief executive.

“That will be considered by the president. The president always says that he will defer to the advice or recommendation of those who are on the ground,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Defense chief Lorenzana to go on quarantine after staff contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said he would go on self-quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Lorenzana, who heads the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said his staff learned of his positive swab test result when they landed together in Jolo, Sulu on Monday.

He said his aide was also with him when they went to Subic, Zambales last Friday.

The Defense chief, however, assured that the said staff member did not interact with President Rodrigo Duterte during their Jolo trip.

Lorenzana said he already underwent swab testing and will await the result while on quarantine.

This is not the first time that Lorenzana went on quarantine as he voluntarily went on isolation in May for having close contact with Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Felimon Santos Jr. who contracted and recovered from the disease.

Duterte satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in PH sans declaration of martial law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (July 14) said he is satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in the country without having to declare martial law.

In his speech during his visit to Jolo, Sulu, Duterte said his campaign against the oligarchy will be more bloody as his term ends in two years.

“I am very happy. Alam mo bakit? Sabi ko, ‘Without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people,'” he said.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan criticized Duterte’s statement, saying the supposed oligarchy problem was just made up to distract the public from the government’s poor response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“Inimbento lang ang problema na oligarchs para linlangin ang taumbayan dahil sa totoo lang wala silang maipakitang ni katiting na magandang resulta sa pagsugpo sa lalo pang kumakalat na COVID, sa gutom at sa kawalan ng trabaho ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan, he said in a statement.

Malacañang on the other hand clarified that Duterte was not referring to the owner of ABS-CBN Corporation but those who have questionable contracts with the government and are not paying their dues.

“He must be referring to oligarchs which he named and actually threatened to destroy but he reconsidered,” according to Roque.

Roque also said said the President has reconsidered his stance against companies including the Manila Water and Maynilad, owned by the Ayala Corporation, and MVP Group. Both companies did their part in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Palace official added that business tycoon, Lucio Tan has already paid his dues

“Unang-una Lucio Tan, nagbayad ng pagkakautang sa airport. Pangalawa, MVP at Ayala Group po dahil sa matindi nilang pagtulong sa panahon ng COVID,” said Roque. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Parcels of military land to be converted for beneficiaries of Balik-Probinsya Program — DND

Marje Pelayo   •   June 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army is having an inventory of its lands in camps across the country which can be converted into residential areas for beneficiaries of the national government’s Balik-Probinsya Program (BPP).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that one possible area is the almost 1,200 hectares of military land in Bukidnon that can be converted into farmland. 

“Tutulungan din namin ang mga tao na iyan kasi malapit sila sa kampo kung papaano nila mapapaunlad ang kanilang mga sakahan (We will help the beneficiaries especially those near the camps on how they will develop the land),” Lorenzana said during the Laging Handa press briefing on June 12.

The DND has also identified four model resettlement communities in Mindanao for the BPP.

One of which is the 6.3 hectares model community in Kausuagan, Lanao del Norte, according to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman Secretary Manny Piñol.

Aside from housing units, the entire community will also be trained in organic farming such as poultry raising and vegetable cultivation.

“Ni-link up na namin sila sa merkado. So, pag-start nila ng production meron na kaagad bibili nung kanilang produkto kasi naka-kontrata na, (We will link them up with the market. So when they start their production, they will have a ready market for their products because there are contracts already),” Piñol said.

The official estimates the first model community to be established within the next two months which can house up to 200 families. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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