MANILA—The declaration of martial law on the island of Mindanao will have no impact on the Philippine economy as long as it is imposed for a period not exceeding 60 days, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said.
In an interview with the Philippines News Agency, DFA Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Ma. Hellen Barber-De La Vega believed that President Rodrigo Duterte “did the right thing” when he imposed martial law to address security issues in Mindanao.
Barber-De La Vega said the government, however, needs to ensure that the martial law ends immediately.
“I think that if you will prolong those 60 days, then it will definitely have an impact not just on the 50th anniversary of ASEAN but on trade, on investments, on the attractiveness of the country to foreign investors, and international trade,” she said.
“So I would like to think that that would be the last thing that the President wants,” she added.
Barber-De La Vega also urged vigilance to ensure public safety.
“So I think that what needs to be done is to really ask also our public to be vigilant about it; they have the responsibility to ensure that our country is safe. So they need to help the government,” she said, asking them to report suspicious activities.
The DFA official underscored the need for people to be united.
“Because it is not just the life of your family that you are securing here, it is the survival of our society, of our country,” said Barber-De La Vega. “We have to help our armed forces, we are all Filipinos.”
The Philippines hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits this year which coincides with its 50th founding anniversary.
Barber-De La Vega said the country has not received so far expression of concern from other ASEAN member states over martial law declaration.