Malacañang defends ‘unpopular’ martial law

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Malacañang defends ‘unpopular’ martial law
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterates the supposed need to extend martial law to allow the military to address the remnants of ISIS-inspired groups

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang went on the defensive on Saturday, December 23, to justify the extension of martial law in Mindanao in the wake of a survey showing majority of Filipinos oppose it.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the military needs martial law powers to defeat the remnants of local armed groups linked to international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS) and to facilitate the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

“Martial law allowed our defenders to keep the Daesh, their supporters, and remnants in check. If martial law had not been implemented, the current situation in the communities in Mindanao would have been vastly different,” Roque said.

“We therefore have to explain to our people that what the Daesh-Maute did in Marawi was just the tip of the iceberg. The Dawlah Islamiya remains determined to establish an IS wilayat in Mindanao. With martial law in place, our defenders can establish a tighter net against these rebels and terrorists who will not stop until they are completely defeated,” he added.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 62% of Filipinos see no need to extend military rule in Mindanao since the war in Marawi City already ended late October. (READ: ‘War is over’: Majority disagree with martial law extension – SWS poll)

The survey countered claims that majority of Mindanao residents support the extension of martial law. Based on the poll, 62% in Mindanao oppose it.

The opposition is highest in Metro Manila, where 67% oppose it.

In Marawi City, the reaction is mixed. Local officials support the extension of martial law but some residents oppose it. (READ: Marawi residents crying for justice fear extended martial law)

Roque also sought to discredit the survey, raising an issue against the phrasing of the question.

“We understand the sentiment of the public when 62% of the respondents said they oppose martial law extension in Mindanao, given the construction of the survey question which began, ‘Dahil tapos na ang giyera sa Marawi City…’ (Since the war in Marawi City is already over…),” Roque said.

“We have to engage our people and make them aware that it is precisely because of martial law that there is a seemingly peaceful environment that is prevalent now in Mindanao, thus, they have this perception of ‘tapos na ang giyera’ (the war is already over),” he added. –

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