DND: martial law declaration in Mindanao is imperative

The Department of National Defense said that President Duterte’s imposition of martial law in Mindanao is imperative stressing it is necessary to solve the security concerns in the region once and for all.

During the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday, May 31, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said that while the government security forces can address the situation in Marawi City without martial rule, martial law is imperative to once and for all address security concerns in the entire Mindanao immediately and decisively.

“The situation currently being dealt with by the state security forces goes beyond Marawi City. President Duterte’s imposition of martial law aims to put an end to the long-running rebellion in various provinces in the south,” Padilla said quoting the clarificatory statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

This is evidenced by the incidents that happened in Zamboanga, Davao, Bohol, Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Maguindanao, Padilla said citing the statement.

“As the President has repeatedly said, ‘Kung magde-declare ako ng martial law, tatapusin ko nang lahat ito,’ referring to the threats posed by ISIS-linked local and foreign terrorist groups whose network covers the entire Mindanao,’” he said.

Also during the same press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the creation of a “peace corridor,” in coordination with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to hasten the rescue and the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in Marawi City.

“President Duterte approved the creating of a peace corridor to ensure the safety of the civilians and the delivery of the needed humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi, according to Irene Morada Santiago, chairperson of the Government’s Implementing Panel,” Abella said.

The establishment of a peace corridor was agreed following the meeting with President Duterte, the members of the joint implementing panels, and top officials of the MILF on Monday, Abella said quoting Santiago.

Evacuees continue receiving government aid

Abella also reported that to date, a total of P36,377,610 worth of augmentation assistance has been provided to affected families in ARMM by the Department of Social Welfare and Development through DSWD-Field Office 10 and Field Office 12.

“As of today, there have been 18,609 families or 92,628 persons displaced in Regions X and ARMM. Of which, 2,722 families or 13,194 persons are still staying in 22 evacuation centers and 15,887 families or 79,434 persons are staying outside the centers,” he said.

Both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Energy imposed a price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities as well as kerosene and LPG in Mindanao.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre sent Undersecretary Renante Orceo to Iligan City on May 30 to oversee the creation of Panel of Prosecutors for Maute cases, Abella reported.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Leonor Briones postponed opening of classes on June 5, 2017 in Marawi and move it to a later date to ensure the safety of children for the school opening.

Recovery of high-powered weapons

Padilla also said there is a very positive development in Marawi especially with the recent recovery of numerous high-powered firearms used by the terrorists.

“The recovery of these high-powered firearms continues to reduce the capability of these armed groups to do the violent activities that they have been doing for quite some time,” Padilla said.

The AFP has so far rescued 960 individuals from the conflict zone, he said, advising those residents who are still trapped to raise a white flag or cloth in order for soldiers to bring them to safety.

The Armed forces will continue to work with all the NGOs and CSOs in the area to facilitate the entry of much needed humanitarian help in areas where evacuees are staying and in areas where IDPs are located, Padilla said.

The AFP official also made an assurance that the Armed forces will continue to abide by all the established rules and protocols in the ongoing conflict in Marawi City. ###PND