19 October 2017
After Marawi’s liberation,
VP Leni asks admin: Keep your word on limits of martial law period in Mindanao
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said she hopes that the administration keeps its word regarding the lifting martial law in Mindanao once hostilities have died down.
VP Leni reiterated that this promise, made by Defense officials and the military, was a limitation that went a long way towards allaying apprehensions about the martial law declaration. She issued the comment in light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that Marawi City has been “liberated,” after months of being the center of skirmishes between government forces and the Maute terror group.
“Iyong pagdeklara ng martial law [sa Mindanao ay] premised on the peace and order situation. Kung maaalala natin, iyong [Department of] National Defense at military, nagsabi sa atin na as soon as iyong clear and present danger maalis na, ili-lift ito,” she told reporters at the sidelines of the Istorya ng Pag-asa launch, held at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City on Thursday afternoon.
“Wala tayo sa posisyon para makapagsabi [kung umabot na tayo doon], pero sana they make good with their word. Para iyong tao, iyong tiwala sa military, tiwala sa pamahalaan, ma-maintain. Ngayon iyon iyong pinanghahawakan natin, iyong word nila, na sana matupad,” she added.
In May, the President placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law, and suspended the writ of habeas corpus there, “on account of lawless violence” in the region, and cited in particular the attacks of the Maute group. The declaration, initially for 60 days, was granted extension by Congress up to the end of the year.
Duterte this week declared the liberation of Marawi, after two top leaders involved in the conflict—Omar Maute, leader of the Maute group, and Abu Sayyaf subleader Isnilon Hapilon—were killed in a military assault.
Call for unity
VP Leni welcomed this development—commending and thanking soldiers for a job well done—but reiterated the need for the Filipino people to unite in order to help rebuild Marawi.
“Tingin ko kasi iyong end of hostilities, signal din na marami na tayong kailangang gawin kasi iyong rebuilding ng Marawi, hindi basta-basta,” she said. “Tingin ko hindi kaya ng gobyerno lamang. Kailangan pagtulung-tulungan nating lahat.”
“Ito iyong panahon na parang nire-remind tayo na mayroon tayong kailangang asikasuhin—kung puwede, i-set aside muna natin iyong ating differences, pagtulung-tulungan natin kung papaano makakabalik muli sa dati nilang buhay iyong ating mga kapatid sa Marawi,” she added. “Kapag nakikita natin ngayon iyong mga pictures ng devastation, talagang nakakapanlumo. Pero hindi kasi ito panahon ng pagsisisihan, hindi ito panahon ng kung ano pa man, pero panahon ng kabayanihan. Panahon ng pagkakaisa.”