The 17th Congress on Saturday, July 22 agreed to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lawmakers and senators were given a chance to explain their votes before the plenary. Among them was CIBAC Representative Sherwin Tugna, who voted in favor of the extension.
Here is the full text of Tugna's speech as provided by his office.
Mr Speaker, upon evaluation of the events that transpired after the issuance of Proclamation Number 216, the current situation in Marawi City, and threats to major cities in Mindanao especially in Central Mindanao according to DND (Department of National Defense) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Executive Secretary Medialdea, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I believe that rebellion persists, and the extension of the state of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is required to maintain peace and public safety.
Based on the assessment of the Department of the National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines considering the tactics, training, intelligence, funds and resources of the Maute Group and other terrorist and rebel groups in Mindanao that it will take a longer period of time for them to restore peace and public safety in Mindanao upon which the President is ensured to properly enforce the laws of the land, I vote to extend the declaration of the state of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus until December 31, 2017 in the whole of Mindanao. And I uphold and respect the Constitution by respecting the sole power of the President to determine the territorial coverage of the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, as upheld by the Supreme Court decision last July 4, 2017.
Ensuring that peace is restored in Mindanao and that public safety is protected is not only a battle for the military but for all of us. It is a battle that we must win at all costs because we cannot afford more lives and properties destroyed. We will not let terrorist groups take hold of our territory in order to establish their own province and perpetuate crimes, instill fear among our citizens and disrupt our orderly lives.
Thank you Mr Speaker. – Rappler.com