DAVAO CITY, Philippines —- Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said they would uphold human rights in case President Rodrigo Duterte declare Martial Law in Mindanao.
“If the president declares it, as the Chief PNP, I will assure you that human rights will not be violated because I was a victim of martial law, Dela Rosa told reporters on Friday.
The PNP chief was in Davao to speak on the inauguration ceremony of the Regional Women and Children Protection Desk Shelter/Playground in the Police Regional Office 11 headquarters here.
In previous interviews, Dela Rosa told reporters how his father, a tricycle driver, was tortured by a member of the Philippine Constabulary.
Dela Rosa said he once violated the curfew and was transported to a PC Barracks. He said he was told he would be meted with a firing squad for the violation.
“I have many sad experiences during the Martial Law. Now that I am on top, why would I do the same offenses when I implement it,” Dela Rosa said.
During a meeting with local executives on Thursday, Duterte said he would be forced to declare Martial Law in Mindanao if the governors and mayors would not help him address the problems of terrorism and illegal drugs.
“I am pleading with you because I do not want the trouble in Mindanao to spin out of control because then, as President, I will be forced, I will be compelled to exercise extraordinary powers. You’ve had experience with martial law and it could be a brutal war,” Duterte said.
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Duterte’s pronouncements drew the ire of militant groups.
Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago criticized Duterte for “channeling Marcos” by floating the idea of Martial Law.
“Martial law is the only logical conclusion in the Duterte administration’s maneuvers to reinstate an atmosphere of fascism and terror in the country,” Elago said.
“Sowing fear and terror will not solve the root causes of poverty, crime and armed conflict. In fact, even Duterte admits he could not control the armed insurgency. But what makes him think imposing martial law will stop it? Marcos and his succeeding regimes have tried to flatten mountains and drop bombs to quell the armed groups but to no avail,” Elago added.
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Meanwhile, Sheena Duazo of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also denounced Duterte’s pronouncement, saying the people of Mindanao had already suffered enough because of militarization.
Duazo said the better solution would be to continue the peace talks, which will address the root cause of the armed struggle waged by the New People’s Army. (davaotoday.com)