Opposition senators turn down extension of martial law in Mindanao
Minority senators expressed anew their rejection of the martial law in Mindanao after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed it has similarly recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao beyond 2017.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) had likewise endorsed the extension of martial rule in the region, according to reports.
“We, members of the minority, support the position of Mindanaoans for NO martial law extension in their home island,” the five senators said in a statement on Friday.
The opposition bloc includes Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros.
The senators believed that lifting martial rule in the region would hasten the return of Marawi City residents to their homes after they were displaced by the five-month war brought about by the attempt of the Islamic State-inspired Maute group to establish a caliphate there.
“Martial law, together with the air strikes, was the reason why they fled Marawi in the early days of the Maute siege. And martial law is also the reason why they are afraid to return, even in cleared areas,” the senators said.
They also feared that the martial rule in Mindanao would get in the way of rehabilitating the war-torn Marawi City.
“After the pronounced liberation of Marawi and the announced focus on rehabilitation and trade, what will be the role of the people of Marawi in the planning and rehabilitation of their city?” the senators asked.
“What guarantees do they have that they can return to their old location and start life anew? As security forces reign supreme during martial law, would not military rule actually get in the way of a people-centered rebuilding and rehabilitating of the once vibrant city? What is the need for martial law? Would martial law suspend bidding for the reconstruction of the city?” they added. /kga
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