CHR demands ‘strong reason’ for third martial law extension
MANILA, Philippines —”There has to be a strong reason” should the government move for another extension of martial law in Mindanao.
This was Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) reaction after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) planned to recommend another martial law extension in Mindanao.
Last Dec. 3, Outgoing AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. cited terrorist incidents such as the Basilan blast, Sulu encounters, and bomb explosions in Central Mindanao as some of the basis for the recommendation.
Last Dec. 5, AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) also officially signed the document recommending the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year.
The human rights body then said martial law is no longer necessary, noting that security forces are capable of addressing threats in the country.
“It has been the position of the Commission on Human Rights that our security forces are fully capable of addressing lawless violence in the country without the need for martial law,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
The CHR added that the 1987 Constitution stated that “only invasion and rebellion could merit the declaration” of martial law.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 2017 after fighting broke out in Marawi City.
About 1,000 people were killed from the five-month Marawi siege while hundreds of thousands were displaced.
Martial law had been extended twice by Congress and will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2018. /jpv
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