POLICE and military officials in Northern Mindanao welcomed the possible lifting of martial law in the island, but pointed out the difference it makes in their work if it remains implemented.
Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao spokesperson Mardy Hortillosa said they will follow the decision of the higher headquarters but added that the military rule gives them advantage.
Lieutenant Colonel Hortillosa said martial law gave them more courage to implement the laws without fear of harassment.
“It has an advantage on our side especially in holding an individual who is suspected to be a member of terrorist groups for three days without worrying of a possible arbitrary detention case against us,” he said.
Hortillosa said martial law also lessened the number of crimes in the region.
“But whatever the decision is, we will still rely on the support of the people because without it, crime will flourish and terrorist groups will be successful in their evil plan,” he said.
Captain Reggie Go, spokesperson of Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), also said martial law is a big help in managing peace and order.
Go said the public already accepts its implementation and feel secure with it.
“We will follow what will be the final decision of the President if ML will be extended or not. As of now we have the implementation of EO 70 the Whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict. Nagtutulungan po dito ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno to address the peace and development concern especially sa area po ng 4ID covering regions 10 and Caraga,” he said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac on Tuesday, November 12, expressed support for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s position that there is no need to further extend martial law in Mindanao.
Banac said, however, that the PNP is studying the possibility of recommending extended martial law in selected areas.
On Monday, Lorenzana said he was no longer keen on recommending the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Instead, he is pushing for amendments to the Human Security Act to give more teeth to law enforcement by the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The entire Mindanao region was placed by President Rodrigo Duterte under martial law on May 23, 2017, shortly after fighting erupted between government forces and the Maute terrorist group.
Martial law has been extended thrice. It is set to expire by the end of December 2019.