Zubiri wants Mindanao martial law to stay until year-end

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2017 09:46 PM

Police officers inspect ID cards from passers-by as they patrol the streets of Iligan city on May 27, 2017, 3 days after the declaration of Martial law in Mindanao. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Martial law in Mindanao should remain until the end of the year despite President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of liberation of strife-torn Marawi City and the rescue of all hostages taken by the Maute group, a senator said Monday.

The martial law imposed over the southern region is "not like the martial law of the past," and there had been "not very many complaints" against the military, according to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

"The beauty of this is in a martial law scenario, movement could be restricted. When you lift up martial law, laws and ordinances have to be followed; so the soldiers will be in a legal quandary how they’re going to stop people from coming in. At least in a martial law situation, they can control it," he told ANC's Headstart.

Zubiri said the father of extremist leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute, Cayamora, was apprehended while heading to Davao City, and other relatives were caught in Cagayan de Oro.

"The martial law set-up at that time really worked, it really stopped a lot of terrorists moving from left or right or center of Mindanao," he said.

The martial law, he added, is "still necessary" amid the clean-up operations in the city, which has been reduced into rubble after five months of trying to flush out the Islamic State-inspired militants. 

Zubiri said their colleague, Senator Panfilo Lacson, who once led the rehabilitation of areas hit by supertyphoon Yolanda, saw the problems in implementing the rebuilding process.

He said the slow pace of delivering promised improvements in the typhoon-ravaged areas cannot be the same when the government rehabilitates the once-bustling city.

"You have to remember that they’re already angry right now, people living in shelters for 5 months. What you want to be able to do is to temper their anger. You don’t want to create new Hapilons, new Mautes; and the way to do that is to quickly deliver these basic services—housing, shelters, livelihood and basic things like water and electricity," he said.

Zubiri proposed that lawmakers do a joint ocular inspection of Marawi to determine if there is a need for a supplemental budget, as it was not yet included in the 2018 appropriations being deliberated in Congress.

The Philippines' allies, led by the United States, have [pledged millions of dollars in aid for the rehabilitation of the city.