Mindanao people love martial law, AFP chief swears
Believe it or not, despite reports of daily killings, the people of Mindanao love martial law.
“People we have spoken to, they love martial law. Peace-loving people have seen the remarkable improvement in peace and order,” Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters on Thursday.
“They no longer see guns in the streets. These [firearms] are now concealed,” Galvez said, adding that 6,000 firearms had been seized by security forces in Mindanao since January.
President Duterte placed all of Mindanao under martial law a year ago after Islamic State-inspired local terrorists seized Marawi City.
Congress has twice extended the declaration, with the latest running up to the end of 2018.
The terrorists were defeated after a five-month military campaign, but Galvez said martial law was still needed because illegal firearms continued to proliferate on the island.
The military denies human rights defenders’ claims of daily killings in Mindanao under martial law.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson for the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), on Thursday said in a statement that the Commission on Human Rights and its regional offices had “not forwarded any complaint [about] abuses and violations of human rights perpetrated by our troops.”
“While there may be allegations, particularly from the progressive groups, these have not been substantiated nor proven by any means. We have challenged them to file cases and prove them in court,” Balagtey said. — JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE
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