Davao seeks exemption from martial law

A member of Task Force Davao prepares to board a passenger bus at a checkpoint in Lasang, Davao City noon on Wednesday (24 May 2014) as the city tightens security following the declaration of martial law for the whole of Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte. MindaNews photo by Manman Dejeto

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 August) – The City Council of Davao requested President Rodrigo R. Duterte to exempt the city from the Mindanao-wide martial law less than five months before its third extension expires on December 31 this year, noting that it had “several effects on the city’s engagements in businesses, trade and investments.”

The Council formalized this request through a resolution passed on Tuesday, almost two months after Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio told European ambassadors at the sidelines of the 2019 Davao Investment Conference last June 20 that she would convey to her father the same request.

Task Force Davao commander Col. Consolito Yecla told the AFP-PNP press conference on Wednesday that the Eastern Mindanao Command would support the request for exemption, provided all available security forces, measures and initiatives remain in place to prevent terrorist attacks here.

He added the military is also supporting the mayor’s advocacy to develop a “culture of security” among the locals and visitors, which offers a long-term solution to terrorism than martial law.

“On our part at TF Davao, the culture of security is better because it is long-term than the martial law because it will be lifted eventually. It’s not forever,” he said.

No terroristic activities had occurred in the city after the September 2, 2016 Roxas Night Market Bombing that killed 15 people and injured 69 others, he said.

“In monitoring urban terrorists, we prefer all people to serve as our eyes and ears rather than capitalizing on fear and effect of martial law to ensure that you follow,” he said.

During a live interview on the Give Us This Day Program of Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy last August 2, Carpio said she would rather have martial law lifted in the city because it’s not martial law in the strict sense.

Under martial law, Carpio said there is complete military takeover of civilian functions.

“(But) you still have the mayor, you still have city hall, we still have our courts, civilian functions okay tanan (everything is okay). I think it is best siguro na, magpa-exempt ang Davao City in the coverage of the declaration of martial law,” she said.

She said she also reached out to the local officials of Samal Island, a tourist destination, to make a similar request.

She said the continuous implementation of martial law would only raise the cost of doing business.

“We talked to ambassadors of different embassies here in the Philippines. They are saying those who are doing business in the Philippines, they buy the insurance, and if there is a security threat, if there is a declaration of martial law, if there is a health outbreak epidemic, the cost of the insurance will rise, the cost of doing business will also rise,” she said.

She said she is confident the police and military forces have maintained good coordination.

The President declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 in response to the attack made by Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City.

The island-wide martial has been extended thrice, the third extension granted by Congress in December 2018 and to end in December 31 this year.

Police Regional Office 11 spokesperson Major Jason Baria said they also support the request of the mayor, noting that the crime rate here has reduced significantly and the crime solution efficiency has improved.

He said the police personnel undergo training to capacitate them in securing the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)