Senator Bong Go said that the Martial Law in Mindanao might no longer be extended.

“Sa ngayon, as a senator, (tingin ko) hindi na po mae-extend ‘yung Martial Law. Sumulat naman po si National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (kay President Rodrigo Duterte). Hindi na po yata kailangan ng martial law,” Go said in an interview in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

The legislator was in town to witness the opening of the 53rd Malasakit Center in the country at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital. The Malasakit Center, initiated by the President and Go when the lawmaker was still the Special Assistant to the President, is a one-stop shop for medical financial assistances from the government.

The senator agrees with the decision of the military to recommend if the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao is still necessary or not.

“Ako naman, kung ano pong para sa kabutihan ng karamihan. Wala naman pong abuses ang ating militar dito sa Mindanao. In fact, nakakatulong sila sa peace and order dito sa kalye. Suportado ko po ito. Kapag sinabi naman po ng military na hindi na po kailangan ng Martial Law ay suportado ko po ito,” he said.

Martial law, which President Duterte declared in response to the Marawi siege, is set to expire on December 31, 2019, two years and seven months since it was declared and was extended twice.

Go added that martial law may no longer be necessary if the proposed amendment to Human Security Act of 2007 becomes a law.

“Normalcy has returned to the entire region.” 

“Baka pumasa naman po ito sa Senado. I am a member of the Committee on National Defense. Pinag-uusapan namin ito,” he said.

The proposed amendments aim to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier recommended to the President the non-extension of martial law in Mindanao, citing findings of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the matter. The strength and capability of threat groups, including Maute Group, have been substantially reduced and several hundreds of loose firearms have been surrendered. Security authorities also noted a significant drop in crime rates in strategic areas and that the Abu Sayaff in Basilan and Sulu are being slowly defeated.

“The President is focused on instilling long lasting peace and development especially in Mindanao.”

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also backed Lorenzana’s recommendation, saying in a statement last December 5 that “(T)he purpose of martial law has been attained based on the assessment of military and police forces as normalcy has returned to the entire region and the peace and order situation in the area has remarkably improved since the Marawi siege of 2017”.

Nevertheless, Go believes that should there be intermittent armed clashes between some rebel groups and government troops, the government wants to ensure the welfare of civilians affected in these conflict areas.

“Sana po ay magkaroon na tayo ng permanent evacuation centers hindi lang po sa panahon ng disaster kundi sa panahon ng digmaan. ‘Yan po ang planong gawin ni Pangulong Duterte sa buong bansa, magkaroon ng maaayos na evacuation center,” he said.

Go also said that the President prioritizes peace-related initiatives and is focused on instilling long lasting peace and development especially in Mindanao.

“Si Pangulong Duterte ginagawa po ang lahat para ma-attain natin ang long-lasting peace dito sa Mindanao. May schedule nga po siya makipag-usap kay Chairman Nur Misuari sa December 13 sa Davao. Nag-create po siya ng Peace Coordinating Committee para po pag-usapan. Lahat po ng grupo ay gusto niyang kausapin,” he said.

Go also emphasized his trust in the military in ensuring the security in Mindanao saying, “alam na po ng militar ang kanilang ginagawa.”

He thanked his fellow Mindanaoans for the continued support and trust given to the Duterte administration and encouraged them to participate in nation building in order to bring long lasting peace and development in Mindanao.

“Salamat po sa inyong suporta at tiwala sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte. Patuloy po akong magiging tulay ninyo para marinig at mabigyan ng pansin ang inyong mga hinaing. Magtulungan tayo para maabot ang tunay na pagbabago sa ating bansa,” Go concluded.

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