A new normal in Mindanao

People there, officials say, feel safe with the presence of the military.


The House and the Senate in a joint session approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao. By granting President Rodrigo Duterte’s request, Congress has made martial law the new normal there. The third extension of martial law will start on January 1, 2019 and will last up to December 31, 2019

Citing Islamist separatists and communist New People’s Army threat in the area, government officials were able to convince Congress to continue military rule in Mindanao. He added that the people in Southern Philippines felt safer with the presence of the military, particularly after the siege of Marawi by the terrorist group ISIS. The same “feel safe” sentiment was expressed by Mindanao businessmen, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Opposition lawmakers headed by Minority Leader Senator Franklin Drilon and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman pointed out that the military itself claimed victory after dislodging the ISIS raiders from Marawi.

Lagman also said that the extension of martial law in Mindanao only proved that the military and the police failed in installing order despite martial law being extended twice already. In the government panel at the congressional hearing were Medialdea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

On the war on illegal drugs, there are people now voicing their desire for the return of the death penalty for criminals who commit heinous crimes, including large-scale drug trafficking. These concerned citizens cited the execution of Chinese drug trafficker Lim Seng by firing squad in the first few days of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos. The public execution shown live on national television put the fear of God among drug traffickers.

Chinese drug traffickers are shot at the back of the head in China. So they do their nefarious crime here in the Philippines where capital punishment has been abolished. When apprehended here, these Chinese are merely deported by the Bureau of Immigration. Often they come back into the country and even manufacture shabu for local and foreign distribution. Before, the Philippines was merely a transshipment point for cocaine coming from Burma and as far away as Colombia and Mexico.

Complicit BI officials and Filipinos in connivance with Chinese shabu manufacturers should be meted the same stiff punishment as the principal accused. This, more than the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspects, would be a better deterrence against drug trafficking.

Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are among our ASEAN neighbors who still mete out the death penalty for drug trafficking and they have shown a lesser number of drug- related cases. A great majority of the populace supports President Duterte’s relentless war on drugs but there are also many who don’t approve the manner of carrying out the campaign. Three policemen were recently convicted for the senseless killing of teenage drug suspect Kian delos Santos, prompting the President to review the police operation in these cases.

Hopefully, the conviction of the guilty cops will deter trigger-happy policemen to shoot suspects only to incapacitate them unless of course if the situation calls for extreme measure to defend themselves.

* * * 

In developments in other parts of the globe, British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in parliament spurred by the divisive issue of Britain exiting from the European Union. PM May who is at the head of Brexit lost support from her own Conservative ranks but managed to have enough numbers to stay as prime minister.

She returned to London after holding dialogues with France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel. 

I hope Macron also weather protesters’ demands for him to resign. This is a time when Europe needs strong leaders like Macron, May and Merkel. The three Ms have proven their worth as leaders in times of great challenges.

Macron, particularly, handled the French protesters with great aplomb. He did not submit to mob rule by rescinding the excessive tax on fuel. Instead he offered the protesters an increase in daily wages and a better deal if they leave the streets and desist from violence that saw thousands of protesters taken into custody and damage to property running in the millions of euros.

Merkel on the other hand has taken Germany to new economic heights since assuming the post of Chancellor. A native of East Germany, Merkel proved that German reunification was the right step for the economically prosperous nation with its signature BMW and Mercedes Benz cars.​

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Congress , Martial Law , Theresa May , Menardo Guevarra , Angela Merkel , Emmanuel Macron
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.
AdvertisementGMA-Congress Trivia 1