Biz leaders say martial law will have short-term setback on Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – Business leaders here said the 60-day martial law in Mindanao will result in a “short-term setback” in the island’s investment climate.

But Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) president Ronald Go, in a text message to MindaNews Wednesday morning, said it will make the investors wary of the implications of placing the island under a military rule but it should be taken as a short-term sacrifice while the government does its job in weeding out terrorists.

“But as a community, this should be looked upon as a short-term sacrifice that will ensure our long-term progress. Better we pave the way for progress and development now than having to have our progress impeded by arrogant, morally misguided individuals or groups in the future,” he said.

An armored personnel carrier of the Philippine Army is parked along the Iligan-Marawi Highway in the municipality of Pantar, Lanao del Norte on Wednesday (24 May 2017) as soldiers help contain the Maute Group attack in Marawi City. Tuesdays’ clashes between the Maute Group and government forces prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law effective 10 p.m. on May 23. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair Vicente T. Lao said martial law in Mindanao will give more flexibility to the President to fight terrorism but advised him to be vigilant against “opportunistic elements who will use the [martial law] as an excuse to further their bad intentions.”

Lao said he believes martial law will hasten the solution to some security and peace and order problems.

DCCCII chairman Antonio dela Cruz said Mindanao has yet to know the economic impact of the martial law when its guidelines are released but its declaration only shows the seriousness of the resolve of the President to achieve a long-lasting peace and end lawlessness in the county.

“To our countrymen, we will pray for President Duterte for God’s wisdom and strength, good health and protection. Let us stand united and rally behind the anointed leader of the country regardless of our political color and religious affiliations. We are Filipinos and this is our country. To God be the glory,” he said in a text message.

President Duterte declared martial law over Mindanao late evening Tuesday (Manila time) in Moscow.

“To my countrymen, do not be too scared. I’m going home. I’m cutting my visit here to be with my countrymen and I will deal with the problem when I arrive,” he said in an interview with President Communications Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson while on-board the airplane leaving for Manila from Russia.

“But let me just tell everybody that I have declared martial law in Mindanao. How long? Well, if it would take a year to do it, then we will do it. If it’s over within a month, then I’d be happy. Pero ang martial law is martial law is martial law. So, kayong mga kababayan ko, you have experienced martial law, it would not be any different from what President Marcos did. I’ll be harsh,” he said.

Sec. 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution provides “a state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or the legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion. During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)