Thursday , June 21, 2018

Duterte on Mindanao martial law: I'll be harsh

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said the martial law in Mindanao will not be different from the one-man rule during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, stressing he will be “harsh” in dealing with the terrorists.

"Martial law is martial law. So to my countrymen, you have experienced martial law. Ito, it would not be any different from what the President Marcos did. I’d be harsh,” Duterte said in a video interview posted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Marguax “Mocha” Uson on Facebook.

Duterte also told the Filipinos not to be scared, adding that he is cutting short his trip in order to return to the Philippines.

“To our countrymen, do not be too scared. I’m going home. I’m cutting my visit here to be with my countrymen. And I will deal with the problems once that I have arrived,” Duterte said.

"Let me just tell everybody that I have declared Martial law for Mindanao. How long? Well, yeah, how? It would take a year to do it, then we will do it. If it’s over a, within a month, I will be happy,” the President added.

Before leaving Russia, Duterte had the chance to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hour.

Duterte said while he was sad, he was happy that his meeting with Putin yielded positive result.

“I’m sad but it makes me happy that we are able to have a last-minute meeting that lasts an hour with President Putin. And I was able to communicate all the things that I wanted to tell him. The result is positive,” he said.

The President departed Moscow, Russia, early Wednesday morning to return to Manila following the clash between government troops and members of the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.

READ: Troops, Maute group clash in Marawi City; 3 dead, 12 injured

The President was originally scheduled to stay in Russia until May 26 for a four-day official visit.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press conference in Moscow, Russia, announced that the chief executive called him to disseminate to the public his decision to declare martial law in the entire beleaguered region.

“The President has called me and asked me to announce that as of 10 p.m., Manila time, he has already declared martial law to the entire island of Mindanao,” Abella said.

Abella said the declaration of the autocrat rule will last for 60 days.

Duterte earlier warned to declare Martial law if the situation in Mindanao exacerbates.

Abella had said the authoritarian rule in Mindanao is possible, “on the grounds of the existence of rebellion in Mindanao.”

READ: AFP: Situation in Marawi has 'stabilized'

Two soldiers and one policeman were reported killed, while 12 others were injured during the firefight in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Restituto Padilla said the clash is aimed at neutralizing Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was spotted along with an estimated 15 followers in the area.

Hapilon is reportedly the representative of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) terror group in the Philippines.

READ: Duterte: Abu Sayyaf leader Hapilon now an ISIS 'top honcho' in PH

Following the clash, Davao City has been placed under red alert and lockdown.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday dawn, May 24, said they will put more security forces on the ground and on the coastal areas, aside from the extensive and thorough search of vehicles and personalities.

The Davao mayor advised the public not to visit the city yet to avoid the hassle of checkpoints, which will be more extensive and thorough search of vehicles and personalities.

Aside from Davao City, the city of Cagayan de Oro has been placed on full alert, with heightened security measures that include the setting up of more checkpoints in the entry and exit points of the city and its neighboring areas.

Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) spokesperson Mardy Hortillosa urged residents to report any incident to the nearest police station or contact their hotline number at 09364017888.

"I call upon our people to remain calm but at the same time be always vigilant and observant. I urge our barangay officials and leaders to closely oversee their respective barangays and to immediately report any unusual activities," Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said.

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano said security has also been tightened in Lugait town, the Misamis Oriental municipality that borders Lanao del Sur.

READ: Understanding the writ of habeas corpus

Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution stated "in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, the President may, for a period not exceeding 60 days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law."

Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend the proclamation for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion persists and public safety requires it. (SunStar Philippines)