Duterte will only declare martial law if people clamor for it
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo by WONG MAYE-E for AP)
President Rodrigo Duterte said he sees no need to declare martial law amid the situation in Mindanao, saying he will only place the country under military rule if there is strong clamor for the people.
Duterte made the pronouncement in a press briefing early Monday morning.
“Kung kayo na maghingi, sabihin ko mag-iisip muna ako,” he said.
“But when the time comes na tao na ang maghingi, ibibigay ko,” he added.
But he reiterated that he feels that such a move is not necessary right now, saying law enforcement agencies can do their job without a martial law declaration.
“Tutal nakakagalaw naman sila, they’re doing their duty,” he said.
In the same news conference, Duterte said Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is now the “top honcho” of the Islamic State in the Philippines.
“As you know the greatest danger that mankind is facing is extremism,” he said.
“It’s a mass insanity and Hapilon was already given blessing to be the leader of the ISIS. He is now the top honcho of the ISIS dito,” he added.
The military on Friday reported that Hapilon has been seriously wounded as military artillery pounded suspected bandit hideouts in Butig, Lanao Del Sur.
Duterte said he was worried about the threat of extremists on the country.
“Takot ako sa kanila because historically they use bomb — IED — they did it several times in my city,” he said, noting the bombing in Davao City last September that killed at least 14 people. –JST, GMA News
Duterte to ‘think twice’ before declaring martial law
MANILA — President Duterte assured the public anew he would not be hasty in using martial law as a way to address lawlessness in the country.
Amid the heavy fighting between government forces and local terrorists in Mindanao, the President expressed confidence that military action has so far been sufficient in containing the violence in southern Philippines and in pushing back lawless armed groups.
Mr. Duterte had considered declaring martial law to suppress illegal drugs and contain local radical Muslims who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).
“Remember this Philippines. If you ask for it and tell me,‘Mr. President, let’s declare martial law.’ I will answer you, ‘I will think about it first,’” he told reporters on Sunday night.
“But when the time comes that people ask for it, I will give it to you,” he added.
Mr. Duterte said he has been “satisfied” with the military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups in Basilan and Lanao del Sur.
“They are doing their duty. They are being commissioned to do police work. The police are also there,” he said.
The President said he has urged China to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines to provide “precision-guided” weapons in battling the local terrorists.
“And I have also asked the Armed Forces to use all available assets and all the weaponry that’s at our disposal,” he said. SFM
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