20 Jun Duterte Likely to Declare Martial Law in Provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi
As Duterte watched the video, which showed the beheading of the Canadian national Robert Hall, during the five-hour meeting he had with his appointed Cabinet officials held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last Wednesday night, June 15, he belched out his favorite swearing vowing to suppress the Abu Sayyaf and illegal drug syndicates as well as he assumes office this June 30. He is likely to declare martial law in province of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi which are believed to be the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.
While incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff embrace the proposal of declaring martial law in the entire province of Sulu to finally clear the problem caused by the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya emphasized the need to conduct a thorough study regarding the security concern.
“That is an option. We can study the declaration of martial law in Jolo (Sulu) and Basilan because as we can see, there is a failure of governance,” Visaya said. “So perhaps that is one option that can be undertaken to establish order in Jolo and Basilan,” he added.
It can be recalled that reelected Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III agreed to grant Duterte emergency powers in order to annihilate the rebel group.
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV also gave his statement, saying that he will support whatever method Duterte would enforce just to make the Abu Sayyaf to face the law.
On the other hand, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman said that it will do more harm than good when putting the entire province of Sulu under martial law and that it will only trigger massive human rights violations, just like that of Marcos’ time. He cited that there are other options for the government to consider, one is through joint offensives from the military, police and navy while the local government units can take charge of the residents.
“Local officials down to the barangay level must participate, they will be held accountable and responsible if they do not act,” said Hataman. He added that he could issue an executive order commanding civilians in areas where the military operation is occurring to temporarily move to a safer location. “The local government takes care of their needs,” he said.
President Aquino earlier admitted of having the thought of ruling the entire province of Sulu under martial law in the past three weeks with hopes of saving the remaining captives and address the ASG problem, however, he rejected the idea saying that it does not assure positive results.