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EastMinCom: Troops followed law in enforcing Martial Law in Mindanao

The Eastern Mindanao Command lauded the soldiers in the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao as the recorded no abuses in its areas of operation.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 after Marawi City was attacked by the Maute-ISIS terrorists. The firefight dragged on for several weeks, killing hundreds on both sides.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of EastMinCom, said a year since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, they have been consistent with their oath to adhere to the rule of law in driving away the terrorists.

“As a proof, the Commission on Human Rights and their regional offices have not forwarded any complaint on abuses and violation of human rights perpetrated by our troops (both from the PNP and AFP) relative to the implementation of Martial Law,” Balagtey said.

In the same manner, the Help Desk of the Ateneo Law School of Davao, a quick response mechanism which was developed to ensure that Martial Law will be implemented in accordance with the rule of law, has not called the attention of EastMinCom.

“While there may be allegations, particularly from the progressive groups, these have not been substantiated nor proven by any means,” Balagtey said. “We have challenged them to file cases and prove them in court.”

As reported by the Philippine National Police, there was a significant reduction of crime rate all over Mindanao.

Accordingly, the movements of terrorist groups and other threats have been limited, thereby preventing the occurrence of possible sabotage and terror attacks.

“This security impact, likewise, contributed to the successful conduct of the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections,” he added.

While Martial Law is in effect, business confidence in the region is continuously growing as manifested by the 6.8 GDP growth and the increase in tourist arrivals, especially in Davao and other areas within Eastern Mindanao as per record of different local tourism offices.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, commander of EastMinCom, said they have been working with the different sectors and agencies to maintain peace and order. They are also coordinating with their counterparts in Indonesia to secure the shores.

“This is backed by regular maritime patrol which is continuously being conducted by Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, in coordination with the Coast Guard and other maritime law enforcement agencies,” Madrigal said.

“While our designated units continue to implement Martial Law, the command continues to protect the communities from terroristic attacks of lawless armed groups. And this will be pursued relentlessly, with determination and enthusiasm,” he added.

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