Army chief drops martial law recommendation for Sulu

SULU. Authorities secure Jolo in the aftermath of the suicide bombing in Jolo Cathedral in January 2019. (File Photo)
SULU. Authorities secure Jolo in the aftermath of the suicide bombing in Jolo Cathedral in January 2019. (File Photo)

PHILIPPINE Army Chief Cirilito Sobejana on Sunday, August 30, 2020. dropped his recommendation to re-impose martial law in Sulu.

“I drop my recommendation for martial law declaration over Sulu despite the turmoil as there might be other better options,” Sobejana said in a statement.

“Besides, I always give due respect to the wisdom of our national leadership and the sentiment of the general public,” he added.

He noted the “utmost professionalism and maturity” that the military has displayed as well as the assistance rendered by local officials of the province, municipalities, and barangays during the implementation of the martial law there from 2017 to 2019.

“We have realized substantial gains on our security efforts. We effectively reduced the number of kidnap victims from 54 to three, a number of ASG key leaders were neutralized.There were more than a hundred of ASG members who had surrendered; more than a thousand loose/undocumented firearms were handed over,” Sobejana said.

“We remain committed to protect the interest of our Tausug brothers and sisters and the rest of the Filipinos. God bless Sulu and God bless all,” he added.

Sobejana had recommended the re-imposition of martial law in Sulu in the wake of the August 24 twin explosions in Jolo that killed 15 people and wounded 74 others.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gilbert Gapay earlier said the declaration of martial law in Sulu would take time because it needs congressional approval. He stressed the need for immediate measures to stem terrorist activity and prevent another attack.

It was the third suicide bombing attack in Sulu, with two staged even while the entire Mindanao was under martial law.

The Jolo cathedral bombing in 2019 claimed 23 lives and wounded more than 100.

On June 28, 2019, Norman Lasuca, the first Filipino suicide bomber, and another terrorist attacked a temporary camp of a special army counter-terrorism unit in Indanan, Sulu. Six people were killed. (SunStar Philippines)


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