DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Two Davao City Councilors expressed their support for President Duterte’s proposal to extend martial rule in Mindanao for one more year.

At a press conference Tuesday, December 12, Councilors Al Ryan Alejandre and Victorio Advincula Jr. said they believe that the President is “on the right track” in doing such.

“To my own understanding, we have never experienced anything that we could say badly under the martial law that was recently imposed in Mindanao. Definitely, we have no bad experience about it,” Advincula said.

He cited that the implementation of martial law “helped stop the problem of terrorism” in Marawi and to other areas in Mindanao.

In October, Duterte declared Marawi City free from terrorist control after a five-month battle between government forces and the Islamic State-linked Maute group.

“Now if the President in his wisdom says that the reports there is still something to be done because there are some terroristic activities that should be considered and put down and therefore, with respect to my city and I would go for it also,” Advincula said.

“Should we wait for another Marawi to happen?” he added.

Meanwhile, Alejandre maintained that the President knows all the information on the safety concerns of the country hence, is knowledgeable to decide whether to extend the imposed martial rule or not.

Alejandre also stressed that Duterte’s request to extend martial law is part of the long-term solution to the issues of peace and order.

“The President wants a long-term solution. He’s a Mindanaon, and he knows pretty well the dynamics here in Mindanao,” Alejandre said.

“Here in Davao, for how many months we experienced martial law, many people say nothing has changed,” he added.

However, various progressive groups have condemned the continuing implementation of martial law.

In a press statement, Bayan Muna representative Carlos Isagani Zarate pointed out that extending martial law will lead to “more human rights violation.”

“Again, ML (martial law) extension means a spike in human rights violations in the island. As of now numerous extra-judicial killings, forced evacuations, massacres, and food blockades are happening in numerous provinces in Mindanao,” Zarate said.

Zarate also maintained that “there is no basis for extending martial rule in Mindanao and only caused hardships and sufferings to the people.”

Human rights group Karapatan said at least 29 alleged victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao were recorded since the President’s declaration of martial law on May 23. At least 15 of which were recorded in Southern Mindanao Region.

“With Malacaňang poised to extend the martial law declaration in Mindanao and, possibly, to expand the coverage nationwide, the situation is set to become much more urgent and dangerous,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said. (davaotoday.com)

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