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Editorial | It’s over

As soon as the first burst of gunfire reverberated in Marawi on May 23, 2017, the President who was then on a state visit to Moscow, lost no time in issuing Proclamation No, 216, effectively putting the entire Mindanao island under martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

Amid the excitement of the SEA Games, Malacanan spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced yesterday there will no longer be an extension assuaging fears from the private sector that it will continue for another year.

Early on, the city council has passed a resolution on August 6, this year, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt Davao City, should martial law be extended. Filed by Committee of public safety and security chair Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta, the resolution stated that despite the public support for martial law, its impact is felt on the city’s business, trade, and investments. This was based on the recommendation of Mayor Sara Duterte.

The local and regional police office, the Task Force Davao and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have, in the past months and in many occasions, admitted that they are capable of securing the region from threats coming from what they consider as terrorist groups.

This sentiment is shared by Defense Secretary Lorenzana who said in a statement last week that the purpose of martial law has been accomplished. After all, the ISIS-influenced Dawlah Islamiyah or the Maute fighters have been defeated in October 2017, he said, and are therefore no longer a threat to Mindanao and to the islands of the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said the situation in the southern Philippines has improved.

Congress agreed to extend martial law three times and will expire in December 31 this year.

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