‘PH in trying times’: Congress briefed on ‘need’ to extend martial law
With the persisting threats of rebellion in the country, the Philippines is in “trying times,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said as he explained the need for the Congress to allow the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
“The Philippines is in trying times. We are in the global spotlight—how we as a nation will quell the ongoing rebellion and restore peace and order in mind isn’t only the concern of the Filipino people, but of the entire civilized world,” Medialdea said, briefing the lawmakers on the situation in Mindanao at the joint session on martial law extension on Saturday.
Both chambers of the congress are convening in a joint session to decide whether to approve President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation to extend army rule in the whole of Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
Medialdea said the President has concluded that the existing rebellion in Mindanao has not been completely quelled and that public safety requires the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in the region.
The executive secretary said Duterte’s conclusion was based on the recommendations of martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, martial law implementor and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
Medialdea, reading a prepared statement, further said: “The President, in calling upon Congress in such suspension, has noted among others the following:
1. The Daesh-inspired rebel groups namely Maute group, the Abu Sayyaf Group, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), continue to offer armed resistance in a new type of urban warfare, using high powered and military grade weapons like rocket-propelled grenade, and a huge supply of ammunition;
2. The rebel groups’ leaderships notably Isnilon Hapilon and Maute brothers have remained intact and at large, in addition terrorist groups from various parts of Mindanao sympathizing with the same ideology are prepared to supply rebel groups in Marawi and launch diversionary attacks elsewhere;
3. Foreign terrorists have joined the fray by coming to the Philippines as reinforcement like the 20 recently identified Indonesians who actually fought in Marawi, Malasyian fugitive Mahmud bin Ahmad who is believed to have links with Daesh in Middle East;
4. Of the 279 personalities identified and ordered to be apprehended under arrest orders 1 and 2, only 12 have so far been neutralized and detained while the rest have either escaped military’s dragnet or temporarily dug up and they continue to pose dangers to whole of Mindanao and threat (to) public safety.”
The joint session is still ongoing as of this piece’s publication. IDL
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