Task Force backs ML ex­ten­sion in Min­danao

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Stories -

HOUS­ING czar Ed­uardo del Rosario, who is del­e­gated as chair­per­son of Task Force Ban­gon Marawi, ex­pressed sup­port on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 31, for the pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion of mar­tial rule in Min­danao.

Del Rosario raised ap­pre­hen­sion over the loom­ing se­cu­rity threats from ex­trem­ist groups, amid the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to re­store peace and or­der in Marawi City, home to 200,000 res­i­dents who were dis­placed dur­ing the war that erupted be­tween the gov­ern­ment troops and Maute mil­i­tants in­spired by global ter­ror group Is­lamic State.

He feared that the pur­ported mas­sive re­cruit­ment of IS-af­fil­i­ated Maute group af­ter their de­feat in Marawi bat­tle might im­pede the on­go­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts in the dev­as­tated city.

“Per­son­ally, I would like that mar­tial law will con­tinue dur­ing the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion phase be­cause as chair­man of Task Force Ban­gon Marawi, my main con­cern is the se­cu­rity of the whole re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­fort,” Del Rosario told Palace re­porters.

“Just imag­ine if some­thing will hap­pen in Marawi City dur­ing the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion phase, con­trac­tors and la­bor­ers might no longer come there. It will be dif­fi­cult for us dur­ing the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion phase,” he added.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte was forced to de­clare mar­tial law in Min­danao af­ter Maute ex­trem­ists, along with some for­eign fight­ers, at­tacked Marawi City in Lanao del Sur prov­ince, in an at­tempt to es­tab­lish caliphate for IS’ South­east Asia group.

The 60-day pro­mul­ga­tion of Min­danao ended on July 22 but was ex­tended by Congress un­til De­cem­ber 31, 2017, in an ef­fort to com­pletely quell in­sur­gency.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana de­clared on Oc­to­ber 23 that the five-month war be­tween the Philip­pine state troops and IS-linked ter­ror­ists was over, fol­low­ing the deaths of in­fa­mous ex­trem­ist lead­ers Is­nilon Hapi­lon and Omar Maute.

On Novem­ber 18, Duterte said the lift­ing of mar­tial law in the en­tire Min­danao would de­pend on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the state forces.

The Com­man­der-inChief said he would “heav­ily” rely on the sol­diers and po­lice­men’s pro­posal, with re­gard to the nec­ces­sity to end or ex­tend the im­ple­men­ta­tion of mil­i­tary rule.

“You know, dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law is al­ways de­pen­dent on what the armed forces and the po­lice rec­om­mend,” Duterte said dur­ing the Novem­ber 18 in­ter­view in Davao City.

“They are the two en­ti­ties that would be re­lied upon heav­ily by a Pres­i­dent or a head of state when you en­ter­tain some­thing like ex­treme mea­sures -- mar­tial law, state of emer­gency,” he added.

Join­ing Del Rosario at the press brief­ing, Lanao del Sur Assem­bly­man Zia Alonto Adiong em­pha­sized that end of Marawi cri­sis could not en­sure the to­tal restora­tion of the strife­torn city.

Adiong like­wise al­luded that Maute group might take ad­van­tage of the gov­ern­ment’s “le­niency” to be able to re­cruit new mem­bers.

“Ac­tu­ally, we’ve been say­ing this all along the cri­sis will re­ally start af­ter the war. And there are sev­eral re­ports that we’ve been re­ceiv­ing that the re­cruit­ment ac­tiv­ity is now on­go­ing in some other towns,” Adiong siad.

“So we fear that if we prob­a­bly be le­nient about im­pos­ing se­cu­rity pro­to­cols, the ter­ror group might use this as a por­tal to form and re­group again and then at­tack another town, which ba­si­cally, that’s what we’ve been say­ing all along. They will at­tack another town, nec­es­sar­ily Marawi City or Lanao del Sur, but you know, maybe some prov­inces,” he added.

Del Rosario said Task Force Ban­gon Marawi would co­or­di­nate with the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP) and the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) so they would be able to make nec­es­sary rec­om­men­da­tion on the pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion of the mar­tial law.

While he sought to ex­tend mar­tial law in Min­danao, Del Rosario said it would still be up to the mil­i­tary and po­lice forces whether such ex­ten­sion is nec­es­sary.

“It de­pends on the assess­ment of the AFP, PNP. Be­cause I, chair of the Task Force Ban­gon Marawi, I only as­sess the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion phase. But the AFP and PNP, they as­sess the whole sit­u­a­tion,” Del Rosario said.

“So if ever, it will be ex­tended and the rec­om­men­da­tion will of­fi­cially come from the AFP and the PNP. Def­i­nitely, (I sup­port the ex­ten­sion of mar­tial law),” he added. SunS­tar Philip­pines

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.