Guevarra: Martial law declaration in Mindanao ‘dictated by circumstances’
MANILA, Philippines —Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday stressed that martial law declaration in Mindanao was “dictated by circumstances” and was not meant to be the government’s new policy to address rebellion in the region.
“The matter of declaring martial law is not a matter of policy, it’s a matter of exigency,” Guevarra said during the joint session on martial extension in Mindanao.
Guevarra was responding to the question of Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin if martial law is now the policy of the government to fight rebellion as President Rodrigo Duterte and security officials cited terrorism as the reason behind their request to extend martial law in the south again for another year.
“When the factual circumstances call for its declaration, the President will exercise his prerogative as Commander-in-Chief. But this is not meant to be a policy, this is dictated by circumstances and the exigencies of the times,” Guevarra added.
The President cited several bombings in Mindanao, including the ones reported in Lamitan City, Basilan, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and in General Santos City in the past few months in his request for the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year.
“Security assessment submitted by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) highlights certain essential facts which indicate that rebellion still persists in Mindanao and public safety requires the continuation of martial law,” the President said.
According to the President, martial law extension “will enable the AFP, the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to finally put an end to the on-going rebellion in Mindanao and continue to prevent the same from escalating in other parts of the country.” /muf
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