ALL police regional offices in Mindanao and their respective Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOCs) have pushed for the extension of martial law in the region citing its positive impact on economy and peace and order condition from May 2017 to date, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Police Regional Office 9 director, Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Luis D. Licup told the Joint National Peace and Order Council and 4th RPOC Cluster Meeting in Davao City on Monday that the implementation of martial law in Mindanao and relentless government offensive against pro-ISIS groups including the Abu Sayyaf have weakened the terrorists’ capability to retaliate against government forces.
Licup also said that the martial rule in the region has also greatly weakened the New People’s Army movement with the rebels now concentrating their effort to expand their mass organization, black propaganda and recruitment programs after being upset by the surrenders of their mass supporters and members.
The Police Regional Office 11 in Southern Mindanao headed by Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office led by Chief Supt. Graciano J. Mijares and their respective RPOCs have also made similar recommendations.
The RPOC 13 Executive Committee in Caraga region also issued a resolution supporting the extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for 1 year in preservation of peace and public safety, said PRO13 director, Chief Supt. Gilbert DC Cruz.
RPO13 said there is a need for martial law extension in the region to help totally eradicate the presence of local/foreign terrorist groups and armed lawless elements including the NPA and thier coddlers, supporters and financiers.
In its resolution, the RPO13 cited around 30 percent reduction of the total crime volume in Caraga region since the martial law declaration, thus the need to further extend it to attain lasting peace, order and security in the region. The motion was made by Fr. Carlito Clase, executive director of the Caraga Conference on Peace and Development and seconded by Cruz.
Armed Forces chief of staff, General Carlito G. Galvez Jr. had said they are also making the same recommendation to the President amid positive response from local government officials and their ground forces in Mindanao.
He said there is a major need to extend martial law in Mindanao to sustain its gains including a more than 50 percent increase in tourist arrivals in Davao region alone.
He did not say how long the extension would be but maintained it will be according to the ‘pulse of the people.’
The AFP chief cited the positive impact of martial law on Mindanao’s economy. In the Davao region alone, he said, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 10.9 percent last year, making the second fastest growth among 17 regions.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, Davao region’s growth was higher this year than the 9.5 percent recorded in 2016.
Citing a significant reduction in major crimes in the region from May 2017 to date and public satisfaction over it, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said they are inclined to recommend martial law extension in Mindanao.
“Personally, If I would be asked by the President, I would say yes to it. That would be the agency’s position too,” the PNP chief said.
Gen. Albayalde said that based on public impulse, majority of Mindanao residents also want martial law in the region be extended.