THE Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) said it has not received reports about human rights abuse among its personnel during the martial law's almost two-year enforcement, adding that the martial rule declaration has been beneficial in ensuring peace contrary to what other groups claim.
"The implementation of martial law helps us to prevent terrorism in Eastern Mindanao. We were able to prevent the execution of the plan of all terror groups and this was proven in having a secured, orderly and free election on May 13, and the safe conduct of national and international events in Eastern Mindanao," Eastmincom deputy commander Brigadier General Ernesto Torres said.
Martial law under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, Torres said, has gained the support of the public, as they feel safer.
The martial rule was declared by the President at the wake of the Marawi siege last May 23, 2017.
Its declaration was greeted with mixed reactions and earned criticisms and fears of supposed human rights abuses similar to those documented during the Marcos regime.
"The positive reaction and acceptance of the martial law implementation are indicators that the Dabawenyos are psychologically and physically secure and this is what we intend to sustain," he added.
In December 2018, the lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the request of Duterte for another extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 2019 to address lawless violence.
Dismissing report on allegation of human rights abuses committed by the security forces, Torres said they took priority in upholding the rights of the citizens in the conduct of their security operation.
"With or without martial law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has constantly been respecting human rights. In fact, human rights education is incorporated in all our training at all levels. Human rights violation, in any form, shall never be tolerated in our organization," he added.
Meanwhile, authorities have been challenging those who are claiming to have been a victim of abuse to come forward and file legal action, citing they do not tolerate such action among their ranks.
"Should there be an allegation of such, we shall deal with it seriously. Meantime, we commend our troops for faithfully and professionally conducting themselves during the recently conducted midterm elections. Not a single complaint was received by our election monitoring teams in the whole area of Eastern Mindanao Command in the week before and after the election," Torres said.