By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday thanked Congress for granting his request to extend martial law for another year in Mindanao.
In his speech at the ceremonial demilitarization of seized weapons at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, the President sent his gratitude to both houses of Congress “for understanding the plight of the Filipino.”
Without martial law, he admitted it would be impossible for the government to curb rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao.
“Alam mo mahirapan talaga ako ‘pag walang martial law sa Mindanao. I will make it public and maybe telegraph also to the other side,” the President said.
“You know because there are processes to follow, procedures to honor. Kaya itong martial law, without the martial powers, the ancillary powers attached to the implementors, the implementing agency, mahihirapan tayo,” he said.
Congress earlier today voted in favor of the extension of martial law in Mindanao with 240 in favor and 27 against, with no abstention vote.
In the ceremony, Duterte also conferred the Order of Lapu- Lapu medals to soldiers who were wounded in various actions all over the country. Of this number, 75 were awarded with the Kampilan Medal and 30 others with the Kamagi Medal.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 17, the Order of Lapu- Lapu is given to government officials and personnel and private individuals who have shown invaluable service to the President’s campaign or advocacy.
“To those who were wounded in action and are here with us today, we confer upon you the Order of Lapu-Lapu as a recognition of your extraordinary and exceptional service to the nation,” Duterte said.
“May our soldiers continue to inspire our people, especially those from Marawi, to rise above all challenges as we rebuild from the ruins of war and look forward to a brighter future,” he added
In the same gathering, Duterte announced that he already ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to provide and build houses for soldiers who are still undergoing therapy.
The Chief Executive also assured a good future for the soldiers’ children, saying that if any of them want to study in the country’s top schools, then he will finance it.