By Martin Sadongdong
The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) sees no problem should martial law be lifted in Davao City, its commander disclosed Tuesday.
Lieutenant General Felimon Santos, EastMinCom commander, said the improvement in the overall peace and order situation in Davao City could have been a factor why Presidential daughter and city mayor Sarah Duterte expressed the desire for martial law to be lifted in the area.
“For Davao City, wala naman sigurong problema but for other areas we’ll reassess kung anong mare-recommend namin,” Santos said.
However, the official said an assessment is still needed to determine the basis of the exemption of Davao City from the implementation of martial law.
Mayor Duterte bared during an investment conference last Thursday, June 20, that she would ask her father, President Duterte, to exempt Davao City from the martial law.
“I will write [to] the President to exempt Davao City from the declaration of martial law in Mindanao since martial law can be localized in one area or two areas. It doesn’t have to [be] the entire area of Mindanao,” she was quoted as saying.
Santos, for his part, credited Mayor Duterte’s leadership for the improvement of the security situation in the city.
“For Davao City, we have a very good insurgency situation right now especially sa dating ‘red area’ ng Pacquibato District. I think everything, we have cleared them of armed insurgents,” he said.
“With the leadership of Mayor Sarah pumasok na doon ‘yong Peace 911. They have the Peace 911 [which is] dealing with the development sa communities although we have a very good development sa boung area ng Davao City,” he added.
The official also said they have not monitored any activity from the Maute terror group or any other threat group in the city “for quite some time.”
Meanwhile, Santos said that they will have to conduct an assessment should other cities or provinces also wish to be exempted from martial law.
President Duterte first placed the entire Mindanao under martial law following the attack of the ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur in May 2017.
When the two-month martial law prescribed by the Constitution lapsed in July 2017, Congress granted its extension until the end of 2017. Before the extension lapsed, the lawmakers granted another extension until the end of 2018.
The implementation of martial law in Mindanao was again extended by the Congress until December 31, 2019.