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Task Force Davao proposes measure if Martial Law is lifted

This story appeared on the Front Page of the November 14 issue of Mindanao Times. Click on the image for an online copy.
Col. Consolito Yecla, Task Force Davao commander, says they are already preparing for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao. He also discusses the security for the coming holidays, including the annual Pasko Fiesta activity, during the AFP-PNP media forum at The Royal Mandaya Hotel on Wednesday. Bing Gonzales

The Task Force Davao is recommending for a conditional gun ban in Davao City if the Martial Law in Mindanao will finally be lifted.

Mayor Sara Duterte earlier submitted for the exemption or lifting of Martial Law in Davao city.

“We need to have prepared actions on the effect of the lifting of Martial Law,” Task Force Davao commander, Col. Consolito Yecla, told reporters yesterday during the AFP-PNP press briefing held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

A conditional gun ban means the permit to carry is suspended in Davao City. Owners may still apply for documents to legalize their firearms. For non-city residents, they need to leave their guns when they plan on entering Davao City. For residents, they should leave their firearms when they go out of their house.

The proposal for a conditional gun ban was raised during the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) meeting at Police Regional Office XI on Monday. It is part of the culture of security that the Task Force Davao has been espousing.

“This is to ensure that the lawless element will be prevented from bringing firearms in Davao City, “he added.
The TF Davao commander explained that limiting access to firearms will help make their jobs to secure Davao City easier.

He said they may also propose a total gun ban. With the implementation of Martial Law, all license to carry firearms is suspended.

“Because during Martial Law, we can control the bringing of firearms in the city,” he said, adding that if it would be harder for the authorities to check whether the documents presented for the firearms are genuine or not.
“What if it’s not original?” he said.

The mayor recommended that Martial Law in the city should be lifted, as she recognized the negative impact of the order on local tourism and investments. The City Council also passed a resolution asking President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Defense to reconsider the martial rule.

Yecla said they are always thinking of measures to ensure that Davao City is safe from terrorist attacks.

Earlier, the Task Force Davao recommended that maximum security zones be established, particularly in high-traffic areas. For instance, they are thinking of limiting the number of vehicles that can park in the areas surrounding City Hall, San Pedro Cathedral, and the Sangguniang Panlungsod. They are also thinking of adopting the same measure at the Roxas night market.

“There should be an ordinance institutionalizing that effect,” he said. “And we should increase parking violation to ensure that there would be no vehicle-borne IED that will be used by terrorists in Davao city.”

Yecla said they are already preparing for the possible lifting of Martial Law in the city, but they need the cooperation of the local government and the public. “We need to back it up with policy pronouncement to ensure that we will not become a soft target for the terrorists,” he added.

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