By Antonio L. Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – A Maranao leader here appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte, Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año, and National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to stop the use of aerial bombs to weed out the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City.
Gapor Randy A. Usman, deputy mayor for Maranao in Davao City, told a press conference that he is alarmed that the military air strikes may affect the civilians who are either held captive or who refused to flee their homes in Marawi .
He said the authorities can find other means to contain the Maute terrorists without resorting to air bombing that may kill other civilians.
He recommended that the Maute-infested area be cordoned off.
“Within two months, they will go hungry,” he said.
He said 40 families have arrived in the city to seek refuge from Marawi that has been under siege for a week.
The Marawi siege forced President Duterte to declare martial in Mindanao, with Duterte offering assurance that he will not allow abuses of human rights.
“For law abiding citizens, we are the least of your worry,” he said.
“Human rights is different. It is an institutional theory which we will preserve and observe. As I said, I will not allow abuses, the courts are open. But anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one. Let us solve the problem of Mindanao once and for all,” he added.
He said the writ of habeas corpus has also been suspended, allowing for a warrantless arrest of individuals accused of instigating rebellion and terrorism.
He said the martial law will end if the police and military would tell him that law and order have been restored and the situation has been stabilized.
B.Gen. Gilbert Gapay, martial law spokesperson for Eastern Mindanao Command, said violators of the human rights would be meted with criminal liabilities, which could result in dismissal from service.
He said all their actions will be guided by the rule of law, necessity, and proportionality of response.
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