Abella: The rest of the country is doing very well

Davao City — Malacañang on Friday, May 26 assured that the country’s economy will weather effects of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

In a press briefing here, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella cited a statement from the Department of Finance noting that the economy has ample buffers to withstand adverse effects of the current unrest in Mindanao as traders favor the Philippines.

“Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said: The country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals buoyed the local bourse, stock market and peso despite President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao,” he said.

The Palace official also cited the statement of National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon which said that the ample buffers of the Philippines position the country to weather changes in global environment.

“In other words, while certain things need to be addressed in some parts of the nation, the rest of the country is doing very well,” Abella said.

In the same briefing, Abella also announced that starting Monday, there will be a regular daily program, the ‘Mindanao Hour’ that will give updates on the situation in Mindanao.

He also announced that President Duterte signed and submitted by 9:55 p.m. of 25 May the report relative to the proclamation declaring a state of martial law and suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus’ in the whole of Mindanao.

The report was handed over to the Senate President and Speaker of the House during the special Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City. It provides the basis for declaring martial law and suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the Palace official said the Press Secretary of the US has expressed solidarity with the Philippines and condemned the recent violence perpetrated by an ISIS-linked terrorist group in Marawi in Southern Philippines.

“He stated that the US will continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counter-terrorism groups,” Abella added.

On the part of Russia, Abella said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, has thanked Moscow for its commitment to strengthen cooperation with Manila, particularly in security and intelligence cooperation and in stepping up measures to combat terrorism, specially amid violence in Southern Philippines.

Basis for Martial Law

During the same press briefing, Solicitor General Jose Calida and the Armed Forces of the Philippines assured the public that the proclamation of martial law should not be a cause for alarm for law-abiding citizens.

Solicitor General Calida said that the courts are still functioning that’s why law-abiding citizens should not be worried.

“The least we can do as law-abiding citizens is to repose our trust in the wisdom and determination of President Duterte to excise this evil in our land,” Calida said.

According to the Solicitor General, the Chief Executive has ample factual basis for proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

“The festering rebellion of the Maute terrorist group which has pledged allegiance to the virulent ISIS, otherwise known as Daesh in Arabic, is a compelling reason why martial law was declared,” he noted.

“Given the above clear and present dangers and atrocities happening in Mindanao, specially in Marawi City, it is the President’s constitutional duty to unsheathe the Republic’s sword of martial law to crush the rebellion that threatens to divide our country,” he added.

For his part, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said under the new basis for which martial law is declared, “those of the past are very different from the way it is going to be implemented today.”

He further noted that is no reason for the public to be alarmed and fear the declaration of martial law, explaining that it is intended to address the rebellion in Mindanao.

“The Armed Forces will clearly go by all the guidelines that will be issued and the issued guidelines recently by the Department of National Defense where emphasis has been placed on upholding the rule of law and to abide and uphold established laws pertaining to human rights,” the AFP official said.

According to Padilla, the AFP guarantees that martial law will not impede any activities of law-abiding citizens.

“So we will only apply the harshest stand against those committing acts of rebellion,” he said.

The AFP official also encouraged the public to report abuses of those implementing martial law.

“On our hand, we will provide you a swift probe and a quick action to ensure the accountability of our men,” he said.

“Our Armed Forces is a new Armed Forces that you should trust. We are the Armed Forces of the people which oath is to protect the state and every citizen of this country,” he added.

Situation in Marawi

Meanwhile, Padilla assured the public that AFP is not bombing Marawi City.

“We are performing surgical airstrikes with pinpoint accuracy to neutralize these threats that have been impeding the entry and movement of our troops,” he said.

“Again, the assurance that we give you is that we are taking every precaution to avoid collateral damage, damage to private property which you have heavily invested on your whole lives, as well as the loss of innocent lives,” he said.

Padilla reported that the AFP was able to reach parts of the city which have been held by some of these terrorist elements the past few days. ### PND