PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he will carefully study the possibility to declaring martial law in Mindanao, specifically in Sulu.
"I need time to ponder on it (declaring martial law) deeply. And it is not on a political decision; it is an emotional decision. You do not tinker with powers, [with] extraordinary powers of the state," Duterte told a press conference in Davao early Tuesday morning upon his return from China.
"I will not just tinker with is as if it's a play thing. It's a very serious one," he added.
Duterte made the remark following the appeal of the Save Sulu Movement to declare martial law in six of 19 municipalities of Sulu, in a bid to suppress the lawless acts of Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The Save Sulu Movement said that the bandit group's terroristic activities still remain alarming, despite the President's declaration of state of lawlessness in the province.
In March, Duterte warned that he might be forced to implement a one-man rule in Mindanao, if peace and order aggravates in the beleaguered region.
He had lamented that "many violence" continue to proliferate in Mindanao.
Duterte echoed his earlier pronouncement and said that he would end rebellion, as well as other issues hounding Mindanao, if he decided to be a despot in the area.
"Do not force my hand to declare Martial law because if I do, I will solve everything, not only about rebellion. I will solve everything that ails Mindanao," Duterte said.
"If I declare martial law, there’s no way of telling how long would it take us to restore order, or we might not really be able to succeed," he added. (SunStar Philippines)