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Expect checkpoints, curfews to continue in Mindanao despite lifting of Martial Law

in News/Tabloid PH News
Expect checkpoints, curfews to continue in Mindanao despite lifting of Martial Law
Image Credit: ABS-CBN News

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.

Super pissed Duterte vows ‘more severe measures’ vs NPA

in News/Tabloid PH News
Super pissed Duterte vows ‘more severe measures’ vs NPA

Back in September 2018, President Duterte declared that he expects to end the war against communist rebels by the second quarter of 2019. Today, armed fighters of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) continue to kill with impunity, and Duterte is so pissed off that he wants the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to go all out and give the rebels what they deserve.

“I will give you tit for tat; that’s what I told the military, give them what they deserve,” Duterte said on Friday. “You communists, you have crossed the red line. The countryside is infested with parasites like you.” 

When the President said last year that the war against CPP-NPA would end in 2019, he was basing his optimism on the big number of rebels who were surrendering to the government.

Chummy at first

He was actually welcoming communist leaders to his fold when he was elected president in 2016, mainly because he was mentored by CPP-NPA leader-en-exile Jose Maria Sison. 

He appointed several left-leaning figures to his Cabinet, including Judy Taguiwalo to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Rafael Mariano to the Department of Agrarian Reform, Liza Masa to the National Anti-Poverty Commission and Joel Maglunsod to the Department of Labor and Employment. 

But when verbal and armed attacks from the CPP-NPA did not stop, their relations turned south, and these leftists in government were fired by Duterte one by one. 

Duterte also stopped peace negotiations with CPP-NPA leaders and shifted to localized talks instead, something that the communist leaders did not like, leading to sporadic attacks in the provinces.

Negros killings

Over the last two weeks, Negros Oriental saw the impunity of communist insurgents, with about 14 civilian and government personnel killed.

“You are killing everybody there. Everyone that is anti-communist or does not want communism, you kill,” Duterte said on Friday in Davao City, where he led the Mindanao-wide distribution of land certificates to agrarian reform beneficiaries. “I will not take it sitting down. I told the military…do it to them also.”

The threat

He then repeated his threat that “a more severe measure” is forthcoming to end insurgency-related violence in the Philippines. “I’m telling you, I will implement a more severe measure. What is it? Hintay lang kayo (just wait). But you cannot do it unrestrained, unbridled, uncontrolled,” he added.

Again, he did not detail what he would do. 

His spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said there is a big possibility that Duterte would place Negros under Martial Law if the authorities in the province would still fail to contain the NPA rebels there.

Duterte also said he would be dispatching his “death squad” against communist insurgents. The President’s death squad, commonly known as “DDS” for Duterte Death Squad, is believed to behind the killings of drug suspects from the time he was the mayor of Davao City up to today.


The President said the presence of these communist rebels in the provinces has been holding back development in the countryside.

“The reason why we cannot develop fully is the countryside are — the countryside is infested with parasites like you. You do not work, you exact taxation…With the communist theories and your ideologies which is rotten already — it is a corrupt just like the ISIS, you fight, you kill,” he said.

“You know what you did in Negros, it did — is not just fighting. The danger there is you are now implementing the commune system of the discredited communist party strategy,” he added.

Filipino firefighters to wield guns soon

in News/Tabloid PH News
Filipino firefighters to wield guns soon

The country will have an additional 25,000 armed personnel to help maintain peace and order once the plan of President Duterte to issue firearms to firefighters is implemented.

In his speech at the 28th-anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Thursday (August 1), Duterte said firefighters should not confine themselves to fire prevention.

“I will allow the issuance of guns to firefighters. After stopping the fire, look after the people. Kill the fire then the person. You help in the maintenance of peace and order,” Duterte was quoted in a report of the Manila Bulletin. “You have to help in the law and order. You are not just limited to just fire. That’s a bullsh*t idea. You have to go around and help the policeman and the military, you must help and you must help kill; kill the enemy because your enemy will kill you.”

A report of the Commission on Audit in 2018 showed there were only about 23,000 firefighters in the country that year, or about half of the desired number. The BFP opened 2,000 slots for recruitment last year and another 2,000 this year.

Duterte’s pronouncement to make the firefighters help the military and police in maintaining peace and order was an offshoot of the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, where communist insurgency-related attacks already left 15 people dead in a span of one week. 

The President also hinted at imposing Martial Law in the province and dispatch his “death squad” to go after the communist rebels.

The Philippines has about 170,000 policemen and 125,000 active military personnel.

The BFP is under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Duterte said he has given instructions to DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano to implement his policy pronouncement.

Photo Credit: Bullit Marquez/AP

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