Lorenzana not keen on another extension of martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019   •   219

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)

Incoming AFP Chief ensures tighter security in Mindanao despite Martial Law termination

Maris Federez   •   January 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff LtGen. Felimon Santos, Jr. believes that the people in Mindanao have welcomed the change that the termination of Martial Law has brought to the region.

He said that the military has explained very well to the local government units in Mindanao who had been initially closed to the idea of lifting the Martial Law on why it should no longer be extended further.

The official also ensures that the security in the region will be tightened even more, with checkpoints and regular soldiers on patrol still in place.

“I assure them na kahit walang martial law our security measures are in place even we will enhance pa yung security to ensure na walang mangyari,” said Santos.

Former Sulu governor, Abdusakur Tan, Sr. agrees.

“Nakikita na nag-iimprove dahil pag lagi tayong nasa martial law ibig sabihin magulo,” he said. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

It’s final! No more extension of martial law in Mindanao — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Many residents in Mindanao have been wishing for the extension of martial law in the region.

However, on Tuesday (December 31), the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao will be lifted after being extended thrice since it was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 after the terrorist group Maute-ISIS took over the city of Marawi.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the President’s decision to lift martial law is already final.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is not extending martial law,” Panelo announced, “It will expire on December 31, 2019.”

Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recommended its termination.

“The whole of Mindanao, no selective martial law, because I was assured by our Armed Forces and the PNP that we have already accomplished what we aim to do with martial law,” Lorenzana explained.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson BGen. Edgard Arevalo noted several grounds for the termination of martial law in Mindanao.

Arevalo said the AFP and the Philippine National Police attested that the situation in the region has become stable since the incidence of terrorism and rebellion has dwindled.

“Mayroon na pong pronouncement ang Malacañang na hindi na i-e-extend ang martial law beyond December 31,” Arevalo confirmed.

Still, some residents wish martial law to remain in their region as it helped a lot in disciplining the public — especially the youth— and deterring violence, especially during the wee hours.

“Okay ang pamamalakad dito. Naayos ang kalagayan ng mga tao,” noted a resident Roxanne Armada.

“Hindi na sila nagtatagal para tumambay lalo na ang mga kabataan hindi sila nagtatagal umuwi sa bahay,” she added.

“Pabor ako sa martial law dito sa Mindanao kasi nabawasan ang krimen,” observed another resident Jayson Jacinto.

They fear that with the lifting of martial law, lawless elements might take advantage of the situation and sow violence again as they have done in the past. – MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

65% of Filipinos say martial law in Mindanao should be lifted by end of 2019

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The majority of Filipinos believe that martial law in Mindanao should be lifted by the end of the year, based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

In the survey released on Sunday (December 29), the SWS found that 65 percent of Filipinos said that the martial law in the Mindanao region should not go beyond 2019 while 34 percent said it should be extended.

One percent did not provide an answer to the question, “In your opinion, should martial law in Mindanao lapse at end-2019, or be extended for a longer period?”

The SWS said the nationwide survey was conducted from December 13 to 16 by interviewing 1,200 Filipino adult respondents – 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The pollster said that of the 34 percent who support the extension of martial law beyond 2019, 22 percent said it should be extended in the entire Mindanao, 7 percent said it should be extended in Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur, and 5 percent say it should be extended in Marawi City, the province of Lanao del Sur, and nearby provinces.

The proportion of those who call for the termination of Martial Law in Mindanao by end-2019 is high in all areas: it is 67% in Metro Manila, 67% in the Visayas, 66% in Balance Luzon, and 61% in Mindanao, the SWS added.

In the December 2019 survey, respondents were also asked about their opinion regarding the statement, “At present, there is no more threat that another Marawi-like terrorist attack can happen anywhere in Mindanao.”

To this, 49 percent agreed, and 16 percent disagreed while 35 percent were undecided about the matter.

The SWS said this gives a net agreement score of +33, classified as very strong.

The SWS terminology for Net Agreement: +50 and above, “Extremely Strong”; +30 to +49, “Very Strong”; +10 to +29, “Moderately Strong”, +9 to -9, “Neutral”; -10 to -29, “Moderately Weak”; -30 to -49, “Very Weak”; -50 and below, “Extremely Weak”.

Survey respondents were also asked about their opinion on this statement, “From the time that Martial Law was declared in Mindanao, up to the present, the military has committed very few, if any, abuses of human rights in Mindanao?”

Fifty-five percent agreed, 14 percent disagreed while 32 percent were undecided.

This gives a very strong net agreement score of +41, the SWS said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the 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 until December 31 of 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier decided he will not be extending martial law in Mindanao following the recommendation and assessment of his security and defense advisers on the situation in the region. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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