MANILA—Senators have mixed feelings about Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao but for Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, what should be given more attention is the safety of residents in the area.
“…Right now, yung pinakamahalaga po ngayon, ay matigil na tong fire-fighting, masugpo yung ating lawless elements at maprotektahan ang ating mga kababayan. I think before we get into politics, before we get into this legal ramifications, yun yung pinaka mahalaga at this point” Aquino told reporters in an interview.
(“Right now, the most important thing is to stop the fire-fighting, stop lawless elements and protect our citizens. I think before we get into politics, before we get into this legal ramifications, that’s most important at this point.”)
Aquino said he was in Marawi City last May 19 for the opening of the 508th Negosyo Center in the city, which is also the first Negosyo Center in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
He said the Marawi incident was “heart-breaking” especially since he was hopeful that additional jobs could lead to peace.
“Yung mga kasama namin na military, mga kasama namin na negosyante at local government officials, lahat nagsabi na itong pagtulak ng mas magagandang trabaho, mas magandang pagnenegosyo sa mga kapatid nating Muslim, will eventually lead to peace. So itong nangyayari ngayon, it’s really heartbreaking because the people there want peace, want progress,” he said.
(“Military, businessmen and local government officials all say that ensuring that there are good jobs, good businesses for our Muslim brothers and sisters will eventually lead to peace. So with what’s happening now it’s really heartbreaking because the people there want peace, want progress.”)
The Senator pointed out that despite the declaration of martial law, this did not mean that it would be similar to the declaration of martial law in 1972 by former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.
“…We have a constitutional process. Meron po tayong proseso sa ating Constitution. Yung martial law po na dineclare nung 70s, iba na po yung martial law ngayon because meron na pong checks and balances na nakalaan sa ating Constitution (We have a constitutional process. Our Constitution has a process. Martial law declared in the 70s is different from martial law now because there are already checks and balances in our constitution),” he added.
Malacañang on Wednesday said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law for 60 days to suppress terrorist groups from wreaking further havoc in Southern Philippines.
Pres. Duterte declared the entire Mindanao island under martial law after a clash between government troops and Maute Group terrorists allied with Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon began Tuesday afternoon.