ZAMBOANGA CITY – Local authorities have tightened security here following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday night.
Colonel Leonen Nicolas, commander of Task Force Zamboanga, said there would be no changes in their security procedures, especially in security checkpoints. However, the public should expect a more thorough inspection and search.
Nicolas said they are still waiting for the guidelines on the implementation of martial law on the ground.
He also reassured the public that the local government of Zamboanga is still in total control of the city’s daily operations.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco Salazar expressed full support for Duterte's martial law declaration.
As the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council, Salazar said she coordinated with the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) regional office to direct all local chief executives in Western Mindanao to conduct an emergency security meeting and plan for contingency measures should there be a spill-over in nearby provinces.
Salazar said, she also talked to the commander of the Western Mindanao Command, Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, to get the directives for the provisions of martial law, or on how the police and military plan to implement the martial law in Zamboanga City.
Salazar said, there is no need to implement curfew in Zamboanga City, as the attack of the Maute Group is isolated and confined in Marawi City. It's business as usual in the Zamboanga City, she said.
Public transport facilities remain operational, including the port area, airport and bus terminal. However, tighter security measures have been implemented in these passenger terminals.
Jezreel Gesulgon, the commander of port police, said they are also closely monitoring the entry of foreign nationals who frequently travel to Mindanao. He said, there have been reports that these foreign nationals might have been passing through southern Philippines to sneak into the hideouts of local terrorist groups.
The Western Mindanao Command also assured that it would uphold human rights and international humanitarian law, amid fear and wrong public perception about martial law.
They also reminded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) not to get worried over the situation, as the martial law declaration would be used to suppress the rebellion in Marawi City and not against their groups.
The military will uphold and respect the ongoing peace negotiations with the MILF and MNLF.