Malacañang has released Proclamation 216, which officially placed Mindanao under martial law, late Wednesday night (May 24).
Speaking upon his arrival from Russia yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he might not stop there because he is also considering putting the entire Visayas under martial law, saying that ISIS-affiliated terrorists fleeing Mindanao are possibly targetting the islands.
Here are the key points based on The Filipino Scribe‘s quick reading of the proclamation:
1) The administration used Proclamation 55 as a jump-off point for the declaration of martial law. Duterte’s Proclamation 55 placed Mindanao under the state of national emergency following the bombing in Davao City last September 2.
2) The government noted that Maute group’s actions in Marawi, Lanao del Sur is a clear attempt to “remove (the city) from the allegiance to the Philippine territory” the said jurisdiction.
Keep in mind that the 1987 Constitutional mandates that martial law can only be declared in cases of rebellion, invasion,
3) It is once again emphasized that the Maute group poses a threat “not only in Lanao del Sur but also in other parts of Mindanao.”
I take offense at those who characterize people who raise valid concerns about the martial law declaration as mere rumor-mongers, out-of-touch, and unpatriotic. We understand the gravity of the situation in Mindanao, and in fact, we’re willing to give President Duterte the benefit of the doubt because he has access to information that we do not really know about.
However, we have to be very vigilant since we’re giving more power to already powerful people. Needless to say, this is a scenario that makes them susceptible to abusing it. Case in point: PNP’s conduct of the War on Drugs. We’d like to be proven wrong on this, of course.