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Duterte asks Congress to extend ML in Mindanao

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to extend martial law in Mindanao, the Palace confirmed Friday.

“The President has requested Congress to approve the further extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao for another year starting next month,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Friday.

“While it is now up to Congress to decide on whether this initiative by the President is justified or not, we are positive that it will share our views as ours are purely intended for the general welfare of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” he added.

Panelo said Mindanao has “achieved substantial progress” because of the implementation of military rule in the region.

Martial law, he said, has addressed the rebellion in Mindanao, promoted the overall security and peace and order situation, and led the region to noteworthy economic developments.

Despite the military presence, however, acts of rebellion persist, he said.

“A halt [to martial law] may only frustrate the progress we are witnessing in Mindanao and may even strengthen the rebellion and propel it to other parts of the country,” he added.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the third extension of military rule will only last until the end of 2019 and will only cover Mindanao.

The decision to ask Congress to approve the extension came after AFP chief Gen. Carlito Galvez and Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde drafted their recommendations.

Galvez and Albayalde, who cited “the public clamor” for the extension of martial law, said this was justified because of the continuous bomb attacks in several parts of the region.

Duterte has also extolled the benefits of martial law in Mindanao, calling it a “deterrent against crime.”

In May 2017, the Duterte administration put the entire Mindanao in martial law after Islamic State-inspired terrorists overran Marawi City.

Congress, upon the request of the Palace, extended its implementation twice in July and December 2017, ending on Dec. 31, 2018.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte might call for a joint session of Congress on Dec. 12, to tackle the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao. 

He added that the senators would be briefed by the AFP Monday.

Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law can only be imposed for a maximum of 60 days. But before it expired in July last year, Duterte asked Congress for its extension until December 2017.

The President again requested that martial law in the region be extended for a year, or up to Dec. 31, 2018, citing the continuous insurgency of the New People’s Army in Mindanao.

Senator Miguel Zubiri warned that discussions on the extension of martial law could derail the passage of the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

An official from the Region 12 office of the Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, said no human rights abuses or violations have been recorded in the region in connection with martial law.

Lawyer Erlan Deluvio, CHR-12 regional director, said the implementation of martial law in the entire region has remained orderly based on their continuous monitoring and assessment.

READ: CHR stands firm against martial law

Deluvio said the AFP and PNP have adhered to lawful measures, especially in the conduct of enhanced security operations.

“We have zero violations of human rights [so far]  related to martial law implementation,” he said in an interview over Brigada News FM here.

During the first and second quarter of the year, Deluvio said they received some reports of alleged human rights violations, but these are still being validated. With PNA

READ: Martial law extension gains more traction​

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Armed Forces of the Philippines , Martial Law , Vicente Sotto III , New People’s Army
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