Some Mindanao governors, mayors back martial law extension

Rambo Talabong
Some Mindanao governors, mayors back martial law extension
'I know na ito ang makakabuti dito sa amin. We are thankful na may martial law,' says Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla in supporting the third extension of martial law in the region

MANILA, Phlippines – Bolstering its “likely” recommendation for the third extension of martial law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) compiled statements of officials from Mindanao supporting its longer implementation.

The AFP released a list containing the names of two governors and 8 mayors who are said to be in favor of extending military rule in the island region. The list was based on statements that the military collected through news reports and public statements, the AFP said.

The local officials identified by the military are the following:

  • Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy
  • Misamis Occidental Governor Herminia Ramiro
  • Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Jonalette de Pedro
  • Balabagan, Lanao del Sur Mayor Edna Ogka-Benito
  • Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao Mayor Akmad Ampatuan
  • Carmen, North Cotabato Mayor Roger Taliño
  • Don Carlos, Bukidnon Mayor Felix Manzano
  • San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Angelito Martinez
  • Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Lina Montilla
  • Columbio, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Amirh Musali

Why the compilation? Before he decides whether to ask for a third martial law extension in Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to hear the recommendation of the police and the military.

According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte wanted the uniformed personnel to consult with Mindanaoans first before the two agencies make their final recommendation to him.

While the military has only announced its inclination to favor the extension, the PNP already declared it would recommend for an extension for easier law enforcement during the Bangsamoro Organic Law referendum in January 2019 and the May elections next year.

Martial law has been in effect in Mindanao since May 2017 after Islamic State-inspired local terrorists took over the once bustling Marawi City.

What did the local officials say? Statements of the officials were essentially aligned with what security officials have repeatedly said: that military rule has made it easier to enforce laws, keep communities peaceful, and pursue suspected criminals.

Compostela Valley Governor Uy, who filed a resolution already endorsing an extension to Congress, said, “A year after martial law, it is my humble opinion that martial law brought positive effects in our province especially in our strengthened desire to finally achieve peace for everyone.”

Mayors also noted that they have not heard of any abuses being committed since the start.

Wala naman po ako na-experience o narinig na mga abuses during martial law and I know na ito ang makakabuti dito sa amin. We are thankful na may martial law and I support the extension of martial law,” said Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla.

(There are no abuses that I have heard of, and I know that this will be for our own good. We are thankful that there is martial law and I support the extension of martial law.)

The most recent approval from Congress allowed martial law in the region to last only until December 31.

Read the compiled statements of the officials here:

– Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.