Marawi mayor backs extended martial law to 'keep terrorists away'
MARAWI, Philippines – Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra supports the proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao for a year.
On Wednesday, December 13, the mayor was reacting to the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao.
As of posting, both the Senate and the House of Representatives are discussing whether or not to grant Duterte's request.
"Personally, with the request of the President from Congress on the extension of martial law, ako po ay sinusuportahan ko [ito]. But for as long as ipagpatuloy pa rin ang ating pag-respeto doon sa karapatang pantao," said Gandamra.
(Personally, with the request of the President from Congress on the extension of martial law, I support it. But for as long as we continue to respect human rights.)
The mayor attended the launch of the Department of Education's Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi program at the Amai Pakpak Elementary School on Wednesday.
For him, an extended martial law in Mindanao will keep terrorists away from Marawi City and help in fast-tracking the rehabilitation efforts there.
"Alam po natin 'yung presence... nitong mga terorista, I would say eh na-control na po. But nandiyan pa rin po ang threat, nandiyan pa rin 'yung mga ating naririnig na mga alleged na recruitment from outside Marawi City. So ayaw po natin na makabalik sila dito," said Gandamra.
(We know that the presence of terrorists, I would say, has been controlled. But the threat remains, we still hear of alleged recruitment taking place outside Marawi City. So we don't want the terrorists to return here.)
"That's the reason why the presence of the military and the PNP (Philippine National Police) is very vital. So with the extension of martial law ay somehow makakatulong po (it will somehow help)," he added.
Gandamra said both the military and the police have been "professional" in carrying out martial law in the past months.
"I believe in this declaration of martial law ay wala naman tayong masyadong nakita na abuses from security forces. At nakita natin ang kanilang pagka-professional," he said.
(I believe in this declaration of martial law that we weren't able to observe abuses from security forces. We saw how professional they were.)
Still, the mayor said he would also be consulting his constituents on the matter.
Duterte declared martial law over the entire Mindanao after government troops clashed with homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi, sparking a months-long battle that destroyed the city.
Now, Duterte is seeking to extend martial law in the region until December 31, 2018 "primarily to ensure total eradication of Daesh-inspired Da'awatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DIWM), other like-minded Local/Foreign Terrorist Groups (L/FTGs) and Armed Lawless Groups (ALGs), and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers." – Rappler.com