SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Voting 240-27, the House of Representatives and the Senate in a joint special session approved Wednesday the extension of martial law in Mindanao for a period of one year, or from January 1 to December 31, 2018, with those who voted in favor expounding on the numerous benefits of the congressional decision.
Rep. Makmod Mending Jr. (Party-list, Anak Mindanao) said the people of Mindanao are generally in support of the martial law extension and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Mending, however, lamented that executive department officials failed to honor their commitment to provide both houses of Congress with a weekly update on the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed apologies for the mistake and promised to rectify the error immediately.
Lorenzana said the DND will give a monthly update to the House of Representatives and the Senate on carrying out of the martial law extension in Mindanao.
Mending called on Congress to exercise its power of oversight over the extension of the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Mending urged officials of the DND and the AFP to thoroughly investigate reports of looting committed by some military personnel as well as alleged human rights violations.
Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu (2nd District, Maguindanao) expressed full support for the extension of martial law in Mindanao, pointing out its benefits to Mindanaoans.
Mangudadatu said crime rate drastically decreased particularly in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during its imposition.
He further said that residents felt secure considering that terrorists could not easily penetrate the communities and the urban centers.
Furthermore, Mangudadatu said, martial law served as a tool for the AFP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to work together and conduct joint operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr. (2nd District, Lanao del Sur), chairman of the House committee on Muslim Affairs, said Lanao del Sur residents support the martial law extension in Mindanao.
He said barangay leaders in his district reported to him that there are remnants of the Maute group who are recruiting new members and offering money to those who will join the terrorist group.
Papandayan urged officials of the executive department and the AFP to continue to hunt down the terrorists and the people behind them.
Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), chairman of the House committee on Mindanao Affairs, expressed support for the martial law extension and thanked the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for keeping Cagayan de Oro City safe during the Marawi crisis.
Rodriguez, however, chided the AFP and the PNP for bungling the intelligence network in Marawi City, which led to a very costly war.
Rodriguez said the AFP and the PNP won the war but failed to embed the foundation of a lasting peace during the period of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte), former Lanao del Norte governor, expressed full support for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
He said the people of Lanao del Norte feel safe with martial law and they trust the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wholeheartedly. / ABR