Duterte signs 'state of national emergency' proclamation

Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2016 06:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2016 06:38 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the proclamation declaring a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in the country, an official said.

Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said Duterte signed the proclamation, which commands the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to "suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and prevent violence from spreading."

The proclamation also emphasized "due regard to fundamental and civil political rights" and it shall remain in force until lifted by the president," said Ablan.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Duterte signed the one-page proclamation shortly before leaving for the ASEAN summit. The signed copy will be released to the media on Tuesday.

Medialdea clarified that the spate of terror attacks like kidnappings, beheadings and the Davao night market bombing prodded Duterte to issue the proclamation.

Medialdea stressed the declaration is not tantamount to martial law and that no curfew is being imposed.

There is no timeline for its implementation but the proclamation will stay until Duterte feels order and safety have been restored, Medialdea added.

Medialdea said the first version of the proclamation included the provision on drugs as one of the reasons for the proclamation but this was scrapped.

Medialda reiterated terrorism is the main reason for the proclamation and not the spate of drug related incidents.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella explained Duterte's proclamation.

READ: What is 'state of lawlessness'?

He said the President's declaration is rooted in Article VII, Section 18 of the Philippine Constitution.

"The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion," Abella quoted the Constitution.

"The declaration is limited such that he can only call out the armed forces to suppress the lawless violence," he added.

Duterte placed the entire country under a "state of lawlessness" on Saturday after a bomb attack in Davao City that was claimed by Abu Sayyaf extremists left scores dead and wounded.

The President's aides said the declaration simply meant that the police could call on the military to help suppress security threats.

The move was also not without precedent. In 2003, then President Gloria Arroyo placed Davao City under a "state of lawlessness" after successive attacks on the international airport and Sasa wharf left over two dozen people killed.