Duterte formally asks Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao ‘til end of 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking the approval of Congress to extend martial law for one year in the entire Mindanao, citing the continued threat of terrorism and rebellion in the region, which makes Mindanao “the hotbed of rebellion.”
In a letter addressed to Congress, Mr. Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao for one year.
“On 04 December 2017 I received a letter from Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana, as Martial Law Administrator, stating that based on current security assessment made by the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the undersigned recommends the extension of Martial Law for another twelve (12) months or one (1) year beginning January 1, 2018 until December 31, 2018 covering the whole island of Mindanao primarily to ensure total eradication of DAESH-Inspired Da’awatul islamiyah Waliyatui Masriq (DIWM), other like-minded Local/Foreign Terrorist Groups (L/FTGs) and Armed Lawless Groups (ALGs), and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers,” Duterte said in the letter.
“The security assessment submitted by the AFP, supported by a similar assessment by the Philippine National Police (PNP) highlights certain essential facts that I, as Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, have personal knowledge of,” he also said.
The President cited the following reasons for the extension of martial law.
“First, despite the death of Hapilon and the Maute brothers, the remnants of their Groups have continued to rebuild their organization through the recruitment and training of new members and fighters to carry on the rebellion. You will please note that at least one hundred eighty-five (185) persons listed in the Martial Law Arrest Orders have remained at-large and, in all probability, are presently regrouping a. consolidating their forces,” he noted.
“More specifically, the remnants of DAESH-inspired DIWM members and their allies together with their protectors, supporters and sympathizers, have been monitored in their continued efforts towards radicalization/recruitment, financial and logistical buildup, as well as in their consolidation/reorganization in Central Mindanao particularly in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato and also in Sulu and Basilan.”
“These activities are geared towards the conduct of intensified atrocities and armed public uprisings in support of their objective of establishing the foundation of a global Islamic caliphate and of a Wilayat not only in the Philippines but also in the whole of Southeast Asia,” he added.
Mr. Duterte likewise said the Turaifie Group has likewise been monitored to be planning to conduct bombings, “notably targeting the Cotabato area.”
He said Turaifie is believed to be Hapilon’s potential successor as Emir of DAESH Wilayat in the Philippines, and Southeast Asia.
Duterte further cited the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which “continue(s) to defy the government by perpetrating at least fifteen (15) violent incidents during the Martial Law period in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.”
“For this year, the BIFF has initiated at least eighty-nine (89) violent incidents mostly harassments and roadside bombings against government troops,” he said.
Mr. Duterte also said that the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Zamboanga Peninsula “remain as a serious security concern.”
According to him, reports indicate that this year, the ASG have conducted at least 43 acts of terrorism including attacks using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), harassments, and kidnappings, which have resulted in the killing of eight civilians, three of whom were mercilessly beheaded.
Moreover, President Duterte noted the continued threat of communists in the region.
“Last, but certainly not the least, while the government was preoccupied with addressing the challenges posed by the DAESH-inspired DIWM and other Local Terrorist Groups (LTGs), the New People’s Army (NPA) took advantage of the situation and intensified their decades-long rebellion against the government and stepped up terrorist acts against innocent civilians and private entities, as well as guerilla warfare against the security sector and public and government infrastructure, purposely to seize political power through violent means and supplant the country’s democratic form of government with Communist rule,” he said.
The NPA, he also said, has perpetrated a total of at least 385 atrocities – both terrorism and guerilla warfare – in Mindanao, which resulted in 41 Killed-in-Action (KIA) and 62 Wounded-in-Action (WIA) on the part of government forces.
“Apart from these, at least fifty-nine (59) arson incidents have been carried out by the NPA in Mindanao this year, targeting businesses and private establishments and destroying an estimated P2.2 billion-worth of properties,” he said.
“Of these, the most significant were the attack on Lapanday Food Corporation in Davao City on 09 April 2017 and the burning of facilities and equipment of Mil-Oro Mining and Frasec Ventures Corporation in Mati City, Davao Oriental on 06 May 2017, which resulted in the destruction of properties valued at 81.85 billion and 8109 million, respectively,” he added.
With these incidents, Duterte said he was “constrained to issue Proclamation No. 360 on 23 November 2017 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines—New People’s Army (NDF-CPP-NPA) effective immediately.”
“I followed this up with Proclamation No. 374 on 05 December 2017, where I declared the CPP-NPA as a designated/identified terrorist organization under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, and the issuance of a directive to the Secretary of Justice to file a petition in the appropriate court praying to proscribe the NDF-CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization under the Human Security Act of 2007,” he said.
These recent developments involving communists, he said, “forebode another year of intensified armed hostilities which, together with other security concerns described above, continue to make Mindanao the hotbed of rebellion.”
“A further extension of the implementation of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao will help the AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and all other law enforcement agencies to quell completely and put an end to the on-going rebellion in Mindanao and prevent the same from escalating to other parts of the country,” he said.
Public safety, he said, “indubitably requires such further extension, not only for the sake of security and public order, but more importantly to enable the government and the people of Mindanao to pursue the bigger task of rehabilitation and the promotion of a stable socio-economic growth and development.”
“For all of these reasons, I ask the Congress of the Philippines to further extend the proclamation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao for a period of one (1) year, from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, or for such other period of time as the Congress may determine, in accordance with Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” Mr. Duterte said. /kga
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