Mindanao congressmen back Duterte martial law declaration

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2017 12:15 AM

MANILA – A lawmaker on Wednesday revealed that Mindanao representatives were largely supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law even as they, along with House leaders, avoided questions from the media following a closed-door meeting. 

The lawmakers held the meeting after clashes between government troops and the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City on Tuesday, resulting in a still undetermined number of deaths and injuries. 

"Lahat concerned. Of course, supportive sa decision ng president to put peace and order back in Marawi city…We condemn it. Actually it (attack) is not Islamic and does not represent Islam. In-explain namin sa mga kasamang congressman that we are in this together," said House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema of Maguindanao on Wednesday.

Sema said lawmakers were all supportive of the declaration of martial law, which would "[put] security back in Marawi City."

While she understood the public’s concern over the implementation of martial law, “this time, I believe in the leadership of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)," she said.

“Alam din nilang kailangan iyong implementation ng martial law will be in such a way na 'di magkakaroon ng maraming sympathizers iyong kalaban, kundi ma-diminish sila," she said.

Sema still called on the public to be vigilant in using social media to be “an instrument” in reporting any human rights abuses that might be committed by the authorities.