Cotabato mayor wants martial law to continue

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Dec) – Amid calls to lift Martial law in Mindanao before the year ends basing from security assessment that terror group threats have weakened, the Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi wanted martial law to be retained.

A checkpoint in Cotabato City. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“Retention of martial law we want, because of the atrocities in the nearby municipalities,” the mayor said.

Sayadi recalled that on the first week of November, the city was alarmed over reported sightings of suspected ISIS armed men roaming in the nearby town that have stepped inside the city perimeter.

Cotabato City was also a victim of mall bombing during on New Year’s eve last year blamed by authorities on the ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that killed two persons and maimed dozen other shoppers.

Cotabato City has been strictly implementing curfew starting 10:30 p.m. until 4 a.m., locking down the entry and exit of the city.

Several people were punished for violating the said ordinance.

The curfew, said the mayor, will continue even without martial law.

“The curfew is a local ordinance, it will continue,” Sayadi said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao May 2017 when the ISIS-inspired Maute Group laid siege on Marawi City. Combat operations ended in November of that year after Duterte declared that Marawi had been “liberated from the terrorist influence.”

Martial law, however, was extended thrice from its original duration of only 60 days. It will be 952 days until December 31, 2019, when it will finally expire. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)