Peace councils to tackle ML extension by end-November: DILG

MANILA Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo AAo said the Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOCs) from Luzon and Mindanao are set to convene by the end of November to discuss the possible extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.

AAo said that based on the results of an initial meeting in Cebu last week, President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for the joint assessment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well the feedback and comments of the people in Mindanao regarding the implementation of martial law.

Last week of November, iko-convene naming lahat ng regional peace and order councils ng buong Luzon at Mindanao sa isang venue sa Davao (We will convene the RPOC in Luzon and Mindanao in Davao), which will also be attended by the President. Our target, by December, we will give the recommendation to President whether to extend the martial law or not, AAo told reporters in an ambush interview after the awarding ceremony for the 2018 Seal of Good Local Governance at the Manila Hotel Tent City on Tuesday.

He, however, explained that RPOCs from Luzon were included in the meeting for them to be able to personally raise their concerns to the President.

AAo said among the concerns of the Luzon RPOCs is the security threats particularly in rebel-infested areas in northern Luzon, Bicol and some areas in Quezon.

AAo said he is inclined to support the extension of martial law in Mindanao, claiming that no abuse by the police nor military was ever recorded during its implementation.

"Para sa akin (For me), having the feedback from the people of Mindanao, I would rather opt for another extension," the DILG chief said.

For all law-abiding citizens, they don't really feel the martial law but for the lawless elements, for the private armed groups, for the terrorists, they are all scared of the martial law, he added.

Last week, MalacaAang said the possibility of further extending martial law in Mindanao was discussed when President Rodrigo Duterte recently convened the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EC-NSC).

Taking into account the lingering terrorist and communist threats, the EC-NSC committed to put into study the possible lifting or further extension of martial law therein, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said among the factors initially considered during the EC-NSC meeting was the outlook of the people of Mindanao, an overwhelming majority of whom support martial law in view of the present situation they are in.

Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.

Congress, in a special joint session in July last year, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017 at the President's request.

In another joint session in December last year, the Senate and House of Representatives granted the Chief Executive's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus until Dec. 31, 2018. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency