No need for martial law in Mindanao, analysts say

Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2017 08:01 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte Simeon Celi, Jr., Malacanang Photo/File

MANILA -- Security experts believe there is no reason to declare martial law in Mindanao, after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to do so in the southern Philippines if the security in the region does not improve.

Political analyst Ramon Casiple warned that declaring martial law will only result in more opposition, which may not be limited to just voicing of opinion but to mass actions. 

Casiple said there is no sufficient reason for the President to declare martial law, not in Mindanao or even in Davao del Norte, because there is no breakdown of government yet. 

He is convinced that the President's pronouncements were merely "scare tactics" to pressure the New People’s Army (NPA) into agreeing with the government during peace talks.

Meanwhile, former national security adviser Roilo Golez said there is a difference between tactical and strategic victory. He said the ambush of the 4 police officers in Bansalan was a tactical victory of the NPA, but they are not at a strategic advantage, he said.

Golez added that Eastern Mindanao Command reports indicated that the NPA members in Mindanao dwindled, and the same seems true throughout the country. The NPA numbered around 12,000 during his time, but reports showed they were now down to around 5,000 armed fighters. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said communist party leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon will lead the rebels' delegation in backchannel talks in Europe with the Philippine government.

In a meeting with Mindanao local executives in Davao City on Thursday, Duterte warned that he would declare martial law in Mindanao if violence there escalates. This, after 4 police officers were killed by suspected NPA rebels in Brgy. Sibayan, Bansalan, Davao del Norte. 

Duterte awarded all four slain police officers with the Medalya ng Kagalingan.