By Wilnard Bacelonia

ILIGAN CITY, Dec 5 (PIA-ICCC) — With the recommendation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP on the extension of Martial law in Mindanao) to President Rodrigo Duterte, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Abdul Khayr Alonto and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra share their thoughts about the issue.

In an interview, Alonto, who is also a former elected vice-mayor and appointed acting mayor of Marawi City, said he experienced the wrath of Martial law during the Marcos time but he’s still pushing for the extension of President Duterte’s Proclamation 216 or the proclamation of Martial law in Mindanao issued on May 23, 2017.

“I still have to listen to someone in our areas and that was in conflicted areas worried over martial law. In fact, what they are telling me ‘dyan na yan para wala nang maghawak ng baril at magdadala ng baril,'” Alonto said.

Alonto added that if properly used for a good purpose, martial law is a big help, not only in Marawi rehabilitation, but also on security and development in Mindanao.

“I am for the extension of Martial Law, if only to dismantle the private armies and this election time. Take out martial Law and I am telling you, politicians will be around. I assure they will be roaming around with their body guards and all heavily armed. In fact, they are more heavily armed than the armed forces. So kung walang Martial Law, I am telling you, magkakaproblema tayo, magbabaril-barilan na naman sila dyan,” Alonto added.

For his part, Mayor Gandamra said the they did a series of consultations around and found out that the people of Marawi City are in-favor of martial law extension in Mindanao.

“Martial law in Mindanao has been a big help for us here in Lanao and Marawi City. In fact, during the last Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, we avoided violence and chaos because of the strong presence of our security forces,” Gandamra said.

Marawi City recently concluded its Special Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections dubbed as “the most peaceful elections yet” with not a single election-related fatality recorded also attributed on the ongoing imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

“If ever our president requests to continue the Martial law in Mindanao, we will support not only for the benefit of some, but for the benefit of all,” Gandamra added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) presented data earlier citing a huge decline on Mindanao crime rate because of the president’s declaration of martial law in the island.

“Based on our statistics in 2017, the average monthly crime rate in Mindanao was 8.79. Now from January to September alone in 2018, it went down to 5.92. So we can attribute that basically to the imposition of martial law,”

Outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez announced on Dec. 3, that they have submitted a recommendation to the Department of National Defense (DND) to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year.

“For now, that’s our recommendation that will be submitted to the Secretary of National Defense and then most probably this conference, this coming Dec. 12, with the new chief of staff. We will be presenting the recommendation,” Galvez said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said Malacañang is open to the possibility of President Duterte pushing for a third martial law extension in Mindanao.

“Given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the President may be persuaded to grant, to approve their recommendation,” Panelo said.

The President is about to evaluate the recommendation of both AFP and PNP and if he decides for a third martial law extension in Mindanao, he will have to ask the Congress to formally pass it into law. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)