By Ellson Quismorio
Iligan City lone district Rep. Frederick Siao has filed a resolution batting for the re-extension of martial law in Mindanao to June 2019.
This means that Siao, through House Resolution (HR) No.2302, is asking for a six-month extension of military rule, which is slated to be lifted over the southern islands on December 31, 2018.
As justification, he pointed to 2019 as being an election year and thus, peace and order must be maintained by the government in the region. He also said that the lives and properties of locals must be protected.
“It is urgently imperative that government authority must ensure peace, orderly, and honest May 2019 elections in Mindanao, including and especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and adjacent regions, to secure the integrity of the ballots and safety of voters and elections personnel and to ensure that the duly-elected officials are properly installed in their respective offices,” Siao said in his measure.
It can be recalled that an estimated 1,000 ISIS-inspired Maute Group terrorists occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur on May 23, 2017, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law
The validity of military rule in the area has since been extended by Congress (House and Senate) twice, upon the request of the Chief Executive. The latest extension covers the period of January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
The Philippine legislature, in particular the House of Representatives, is teeming with Duterte’s allies.
Siao, a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety also noted the “sporadic incidents of violence” including an ambush in Lanao del Sur wherein five agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) were slain.
“The ISIS, their collaborators among lawless armed groups, and the illegal drugs networks operating in Mindanao want to sow terror in pursuit of their twisted objectives,” he said.
Siao said that the masterminds and perpetrators of lawless violence either want to stop the elections from happening or prevent some candidates from getting elected into office.
“After the elected officials assume office, martial law can end and the Philippine National Police can reassume peace and order responsibilities in Mindanao and with the civilian elected officials by their side,” concluded Siao.