By Roy Mabasa
It is necessary to declare martial law in the entire island of Mindanao including Sulu, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi for a maximum of 60 days in order to suppress lawless violence and rebellion and for public safety.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued this statement Wednesday, May 24 to point out to the international community the rationale behind the move by the Philippine government to impose direct military control over Mindanao.
While it stated the justification to declare martial law in the country’s southern region, the DFA likewise quickly gave its assurance that the government was in “full control” of the situation.
It said the Duterte administration is “fully aware that the Maute Group/Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group have the capability (although limited) to disturb the peace; they have shown no hesitation in causing havoc, taking innocent lives and destroying property.”
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law Tuesday night “on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao based on Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution.”
Although the current armed conflict was only confined in Marawi City, the President decided to declare martial law all over Mindanao since there were also security problems in nearby areas such as Sulu, Zamboanga peninsula, Central Mindanao, and the Davao Region.
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, due to the attack, the President had decided to cut his Russia trip short and fly back to the Philippines, saying his “physical presence…is needed.”
Cayetano, however, said agreements between the two countries would still be signed.
Duterte, who was set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, is expected to be back home Wednesday afternoon instead.
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