By Atty. Rene Espina
Now that the war against the Islamic terrorist ISIS in Marawi is about to end, let me make suggestions so that the present PDU30 administration can maximize its martial law advantage to improve the peace and order conditions in Mindanao.
First in the Marawi City area and in Lanao del Sur province, a campaign to reduce the existence of many loose firearms. I do remember that in every election in the ARMM, my sources who go to that region to observe the conduct of the elections, most often than not, report to me the presence of armed groups which are allowed to carry firearms even during the election period. According to my informants many of those bearing firearms are younger than 18 years old. Whether they are allowed to officially bear arms or are merely tolerated, the fact is, there are too many teenagers in the ARMM who carry firearms. Why not disarm all the groups that have no authority to bear arms? Take advantage of the existence of martial law!
Second, the campaign should also be done in the other notorious areas of Mindanao where warlords exist and in all the islands and islets of the region without exception. I am sure that if PDU30 would implement my suggestion, the peace and order situation in Mindanao would improve drastically.
In the process of the rehabilitation of Marawi City, take advantage of martial law to expedite the reconstruction and restoration of the city. It will not be surprising if the period to restore the devastated city will be shortened because of martial law. I do not have to spell it out item by item or action by action. There are a lot of “bright boys” in the PDU30 government, not to mention the President himself, who has practical experiences in running a progressive city like Davao.
Random items: For example in road construction or railroad construction-government will need the consent of the landowner so that the road could go through the private property. The constitutional provision states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” That private property may be taken by government for public use, provided that the owner is paid just compensation. The Supreme Court in many cases defined it as the price at which a seller is willing to sell without being compelled to sell and a buyer is willing to buy without being compelled to buy. Government bonds with better than the average interests of ordinary bonds may be offered as an incentive to the land owners.
Finally public works are undertaken in the usual manner, i.e., first there must be an approved budget. Second, an approved plan. And third, cost estimates. Ages ago, when I was still a governor of a province, all I did was to have an approved budget and cost estimates even before the actual road survey was made by the engineers marking where the bridges and culverts would be. In order to expedite and shorten the process. I normally ordered them to run and level the land with a bulldozer and road grader toward a certain direction like a tree that was two or three kilometers away and so on.
Personal: Ricardo Cardinal Vidal – He was a humble human being, but a very exemplary pastor of his flock. My family and I join my fellow Roman Catholics in expressing our sadness over his demise. I pray that the Lord Almighty will bring him into his heavenly kingdom.