Rule of law prevails — Malacañang; shorter martial law OK — Bato » Manila Bulletin News

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By Fred M. Lobo

Fred M. Lobo

Malacañang has assured that the “rule of law” will continue to prevail despite the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, alongside with efforts to cushion the economy from possible shocks.

Fair rules on checkpoints laid down and civilian courts function against abuses, the Palace said.

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Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief “Bato” dela Rosa said that a shorter martial law is possible if the security situation immediately improves.

“Why not, if there’s no more problem,” “Bato” said on the possibility of shortening the duration of  martial law.

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Congress held an executive session to hear Malacanang’s report on the imposition of martial law.

Constitutional requirements to be met, Congress assured.

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Pres. Duterte called on the AFP, PNP, and other Muslim rebel groups like the MILF and the MNLF to help speedily check the Maute group which, he said, has support from drug lords and the ISIS.

For her part, VP Leni Robredo visited in Iligan City families displaced by Maute’s Marawi City siege to offer some assistance.

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Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella reiterated Duterte’s assurance against possible  martial law abuses, saying “the rule of law prevails” in the country.

Civilian courts are functioning and abuses may be questioned, he said.

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He added that checkpoints will be manned by uniformed men with proper identification and courtesy will be observed.

No abusive conduct will be tolerated, he said.

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Abella also cited assurances from the Department of Finance (DOF) that the economy has ample buffers to withstand adverse effects of the current situation in Mindanao.

“The country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals buoyed the local bourse, stock market, and peso despite President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao,” Abella said quoting Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

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Abella also cited the assurance of National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon who said  ample buffers will enable the country to weather changes in the environment.

“In other words, while certain things need to be addressed in some parts of the nation, the rest of the country is doing very well,” he said.

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 Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre said that the tourism industry will not be directly affected and that ensuring the safety of  citizens and tourists is always a priority.

“We can always continue the aggressive promotion when the time comes. But at this point, we want to make sure that all our citizens in that area, including tourists, are safe and out of harm’s way,” he said.

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He also said Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo had ordered regional directors to meet with stakeholders, including hotel and tour operators to ensure the safety of everybody.

Tourists who opted to go to other destinations were offered help, he added.

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Former Senate President Nene Pimentel said that to check the Mindanao problem,  territory and respect for Muslim culture and religion must be established within constitutional bounds.

Federalism is the answer, he said.

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The Philippine Government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) were urged by Catholic bishops not to abandon the peace talks.

“Don’t be afraid to take the bold steps that can bring peace,” said Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg.

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Relaying a message of CBCP President Socrates Villegas, Utleg added that Filipinos should have “steadfast determination (to) stand for social justice and for the renewal of an order that has left too many to wither away in the peripheries.”

“Let’s work hard for the talks because the people need peace,” he pleaded.

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