Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday, November 6, expressed his approval of the extension of martial law in Mindanao as he noted that the residents under it were in favor.
“Based on the feedback of the people of Mindanao, I would rather opt for another extension,” he told reporters in a chance interview as reported by The Manila Times.
Año justified his approval on the third extension of the military rule by claiming that no abuse by the police nor the military transpired or was ever recorded during the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
“For all law-abiding citizens, they don’t really feel the martial law but for the lawless elements, for the private armed groups, for the terrorists, they are all scared of the martial law,” Año said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde also supported the extension of military rule in the entire area, claiming that it would be better especially with the midterm elections coming up.
“If ever that they will ask for the agency’s position, we will support the extension especially with the incoming elections. It’s better,” Albayalde said.
The police chief stated that the peace and order in Mindanao had improved. Figures showed that the average monthly crime incident in Mindanao decreased from 8.79 in 2017 to 5.92 from January to September 2018. He also noted that no human rights violations nor abuses happened during the imposition of martial law.
“There’s no oppression there. There is no curtailing of freedom, nothing,” Albayalde said.
A week ago, the Executive Committee of the National Security Council was taking into account whether to extend or lift the implemented martial law in Mindanao.
“Taking into account the lingering terrorist and communist threats, the [Executive Committee of the National Security Council] committed to put into study the possible lifting or further extension of martial law,” Palace spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
After the siege of Marawi City brought by the Maute terrorist group, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte decided to place the entire Mindanao island group under martial law. Initially, it was a 60-day period of military rule that was further extended until Dec. 31, 2017. It was then extended to another year to police the threats of extremist terrorist groups in Mindanao.
Duterte earlier claimed that the implementation of the military rule in the island lessened criminality” in the region. However, there were accounts that prove otherwise, such as the deadly bomb attacks that occurred in Isulan in Sultan Kudarat and Lamitan City, Basilan.