CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A member-organization of the Regional Peace and Order Council-10 (RPOC-10) has manifested its opposition to the planned extension of martial law in Mindanao, although the advisory body has pledged its full support for the proposal.
During its meeting on Monday, Dec. 10, RPOC-10, chaired by this city’s mayor Oscar Moreno, has passed a resolution supporting the move of the Duterte government to extend martial rule in the entire island until next year.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following the fighting between extremist fighters and government forces in Marawi City on May 23, 2017.
However, martial law was not lifted even after Duterte declared Marawi as liberated from the Islamic State-affiliated armed groups that staged an attack on Lanao del Sur’s capital city.
Moreno said the martial law is “more of a defensive” tool that sends a “strong message” against groups and individuals who might engage in terrorism.
He said the situation in Mindanao has remained the same prompting him to support the extension of martial law.
“The threat is still there, terroristic activities,” he said.
Balay Mindanaw, for its part, said they oppose the RPOC-10 resolution saying that “any measure that threatens the democratic rights of citizens must be opposed.”
The group said it did not agree that martial law as an extreme measure to “address criminality and lawlessness” is the solution to the socio-economic and political challenges that Mindanao and the rest of the country are facing.
In spite of its opposition to the resolution, Balay Mindanaw said they are affirming their belief in the potentials of RPOC as a positive enabling mechanism for democratic participation in governance and building just and lasting peace.
“We also call on Congress to instead pass a new and more humane Human Security Act to effectively counter the threats and address the roots of the problems, rather than the Government resorting to blanket martial law declaration,” it added.
Enacted on February 8, 2007, Republic Act 9372 or the Human security Act of 2007 is the country’s most primary anti-terrorism law aimed at tackling militants in the southern Philippines. (davaotoday.com)