Contrary to media reports, it is not the president who is hot-blooded in declaring martial law in Mindanao. The Save Sulu Movement urges the President to declare it in six of 19 municipalities of Sulu. This is to suppress the terror acts of the Abu Sayyaf rebels. “I need time to ponder on it deeply and it is not only a political decision, it is an emotional decision. You do not tinker with the…powers of the state,” Du30 replied.
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[VIDEO]: President Du30 on declaring “Martial law” in Mindanao
The Save Sulu Movement pointed out that the insurgents continue to instill terror despite the President’s declaration of a state of lawlessness in Sulu. The six towns allegedly serving as Abu Sayyaf sanctuaries in the province are Patikul, Indanan, Parang, Maimbung, Talipao, and Kalingalan Caluang.
Corruption Blamed for Insurgency
The Abu Sayyaf operates with the seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. They are responsible for kidnap for ransom of foreigners and locals for decades. At least 19 foreigners and six Filipino are still held, hostages. The Abu Sayyaf has eventually used the support of local communities. Their transactions involve millions of dollars in ransom and connivance with corrupt local officials. This is to defy the long-term military operations.
Media Sound Bites
Octavio Dinampo of the Save Sulu Movement challenges the government to investigate local officials in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf. He expressed his disgust with local officials taking a share of ransom money paid by victims’ families. His group even criticized the Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año and the president’s pronouncements for crushing the terrorist rebels. They are only good for media sound bites. he said.
Firm Call for Martial Law
The group is fed-up with the no-ransom policy when everyone knows too well that ransom is actually paid. It is even brokered by the local government officials. Members call on the Senate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the palpable connivance between the local officials and the Abu Sayyaf. On top of that, they also recommend to Congress to criminalize the giving and payment ransom. These can only be implemented properly when these troubled areas are under martial law or military rule due to the current situation.