Despite the formal lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao today (January 1), the government will maintain visibility of soldiers in the region and implement measures such as checkpoints and curfews to ensure quick response versus rebels and insurgents.
“The present number of troops will remain where they are and will continue to collaborate with the LGUs (local government units) to sustain peace and stability,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified.
Bangsamoro Transition Authority member of parliament Zia Alonto Adiong said under Memorandum No. 3, the military can still implement curfews and establish checkpoints to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in Mindanao and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country.
The memorandum mandates the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to coordinate the immediate deployment of additional forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Our security forces will still be able to accurately respond to the threats,” Adiong said.
On Tuesday (December 31), Lorenzana announced that the Martial Law in Mindanao, which was in effect since May 23, 2017, was to end “at midnight 31 December 2019 … after two years and seven months or 953 days of effectivity.”
The attack of the ISIS terror cell Maute Group in Marawi City prompted President Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao. Congress extended it thrice.
“Upon the recommendation of the security sector, the President has decided to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore,” Lorenzana said.
AFP Spokesman Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Proclamation No. 55 is still in effect so the “people can then be assured that the AFP will deploy to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence to prevent them from spreading and escalating.”
“We encourage local government executives to continue their robust partnership with government security agencies. In the event that isolated incidents of violence and lawlessness erupt in Mindanao after martial law has lapsed, there still is Proclamation 55 in effect,” Arevalo said.