BULUAN, Maguin-danao – All the 36 town mayors of Maguindanao have expressed support to plans to extend Martial Law in Mindanao, Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said Monday, July 17.
Speaking to reporters, the governor said the establishment of police and military checkpoints along major highways and crime prone areas in the province has proven to be an effective deterrent against crimes and terrorism.
“Since Martial Law was declared by the President, have you heard or read in the news about a series of bombings and terrorisms in other parts of Mindanao outside Marawi City?” he asked.
He cited Cotabato City, Tacurong City, Isulan in Sultan Kudarat and in South Cotabato where crime incidents have been down to lowest rate.
While Mangudadatu strongly endorsed possible extension of military rule, he stressed that it should be fixed so as not to picture the island as very dangerous.
“The bottom line here is the safety of our people, the safety of everyone and all of us,” he said.
Mangudadatu said what is very important in the martial law declaration was that “our rights as civilians remain, our bill of rights was not suspended, unlike the Marcos martial law.”
Colonel Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade of the 6th Infantry Division said the martial law in Mindanao has weakened lawless elements and terrorists movements.
“We in the military is implementing what the law tells us and our civic leaders have repeatedly told us martial law made their lives safer,” Carreon told reporters.
“Crime rate has improved, curfew hours religiously observed by people,” he added.
Martial law, declared by President Duterte on May 23 following the Marawi siege, will end on July 22 or 60 days after its declaration as provided for by the Philippine Constitution.
But Duterte is entertaining the idea of extending it, still in accordance with the Constitution and recommendation of the military.
Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu, chair of the SOCCSKSARGEN regional peace and order council, also favors extension of the military rule, saying the military know better the peace and security issues of Mindanao.
Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, also favors the extension of martial law provided the safety of civilians remain a priority and any abuses by imple-menters should not exist. EOF/PNA