By Ben Rosario
Saying that his constituents want martial law to continue, the chairman of the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs Saturday aired his opposition to moves to lift martial law in certain parts of Mindanao, particularly his province.
Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo said extending martial law in Lanao del Norte will address serious security concerns of his constituents.
In fact, the Peace and Order Council of Tubod town has unanimously passed a resolution favoring the extension of martial law. The security assessment reports aired by the Armed Forces of the Philippines served as one of the basis for such concern, said Dimaporo.
Early this week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told media he is no longer inclined to ask Congress to extend martial rule in Mindanao. The Philippine National Police leadership, however, supports a selective lifting of martial law.
Already extended twice, martial law in Mindanao started when Maute terrorists laid siege on Lanao del Sur in 2017.
Upon the recommendation of the Duterte government, Congress affirmed the declaration of martial law first made by Duterte in May 2017. By the end of the year and the following year, Congress backed government appeals to extend the military rule.
Lorenzana said instead of extending martial law for another year, he would like Congress to amend the Human Security Act and make it a more potent anti-terrorism law.
Aside from the security assessment by the AFP, Dimaporo said the presence of “Peace Inclined” armed groups were mentioned in the said report, referring to the 1,825 combatants and personnel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“There’s a sense of uncertainty as to how to recalibrate our security forces should martial law be lifted,” Dimaporo said, as Malacañang has yet to decide on the matter.
He added that the extension of martial law is necessary while an exit plan is being prepared for Mindanao’s transition out of martial law.
In passing a resolution urging the government to place Lanao del Norte under martial law, the Peace and Order Council of Tubod cited military rule as a major factor to the zero incidence report as indicated in the AFP’s security assessment briefings.
“The support for martial law in Lanao del Norte is an affirmation of our faith in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Dimaporo said.
The young administration lawmaker said Duterte’s brand of martial law is welcome in the province as it will ensure better peace and order situation in Lanao del Norte.