ON WEDNESDAY, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to further extend martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2018.
The Lower House voted 226-23, while the Senate voted 14-4.
This may have come as a surprise to some as it was being expected that the Martial Law in Mindanao may have been uplifted after Marawi was liberated from the Maute Group.
However, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, after seeing the recommendations from the police and army, saw the need to extend Martial Law.
Likewise, the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao was even lauded by local leaders and security officers in Davao.
"If it's extended, let's hope it would be for the better and not for the worse. It's also good to monitor events such that there would be no human rights violations in its implementation," Davao City Councilor Ma. Belen "Mabel" Acosta, City Council chair on peace and order committee, said.
"The Mindanao Development Authority supports the President's call to extend the Martial Law in Mindanao. We believe in the pure intent of the President to maintain the high security level in Mindanao, and to prevent another Marawi from happening," Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Secretary Datu Hj Abul Khayr D. Alonto said.
Tourism officials and business leaders, however, noted that though there were setbacks in the first few months of martial law implementation, tourism and business industries have slowly recovered.
We hope only the best for Mindanao with the martial law extension.
French enlightenment writer Voltaire once said, "With great power, comes great responsibility."
Likewise, the power that the security forces in Mindanao now holds is great and they should practice it with care. While there were no human rights violation that was formally recorded in Davao Region, we are not sure with other areas in Mindanao.
We call on those who hold the powers in Mindanao to uphold human rights. We know the image of the martial law engraved in our minds and history books. The image of deaths, despair and grief due to countless human right violations. Let us not reach that point of history again.
This is an opportune time to show that martial law, when handled responsibly, can also have good results.