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City Council asks PRRD to exclude city in declaration

The City Council yesterday passed a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte for the possible lifting of martial law in the city.

In yesterday session, the councilors noted that this has a negative effect to the city’s engagements in business, trade, and investments.

City Councilor Maria Belen Acosta, council committee chair on peace and public safety, pushed for the measure, which Acting Vice Mayor Alberto Ungab certified as urgent.

Acosta noted the recent stand of Mayor Sara Duterte for the lifting of the martial law in the city.

“I think Mayor Sara conferred with the business sector because martial law has its cost just like high insurance, travel advisories of other countries, among others,” Acosta said.

Mayor Duterte requested for a thorough assessment on the security situation of the city, Acosta said.

Acosta said this request also got the backing of the leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Mindanao.

“In a letter dated July 16, 2019, Lt. Gen. Felimon P. Santos, Eastern Mindanao Command commander, states their support for the exclusion of Davao City for martial law provided that all present security forces in place, and security measures and initiatives being implemented shall still be operational to avoid giving terrorist groups an opportunity to stage another attack in any part of Davao City,” Acosta said.

The councilor from the first district said that Police Brig. General Marcelo Morales, chief of Police Regional Office-XI, also expressed support for the exemption of Davao City.

Morales’ support is with reference to the notable decreasing crimes in the city’s crime volume and crime rate.

On the other hand, progressive groups lauded the move especially that they have long called for its lifting in Mindanao. However, according to them, exemption of Davao City is not enough as it should be the whole of Mindanao.

“Davao is not separate from the entire Mindanao. Whatever human rights violations in Davao Region is not different from what those in other regions also experience,” Jay Apiag, Secretary General of Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region said.

“The local government finally realized that martial law is not an effective tool in answering the issues in Mindanao,” said Carlo Olalo, Secretary General of Kilusang Mayo Uno.

On May 23, 2017, President Duterte declared the whole of Mindanao under martial law as a response of the terror attack of the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf in Marawi City.

It was then extended thrice, by virtue of a joint House resolution No. 2 from July 2, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017; joint House Resolution No. 4 from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018; joint House Resolution No. 6 from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019.

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