Office of Vice President Leni Robredo
19 July 2017
Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday called on Congress to hold a thorough discussion on President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
VP Leni said it is important to listen to the justification for the request, which will formally be tackled in a special joint session of Congress on Saturday, July 22—just before the expiration of the martial law proclamation.
“Pakinggan natin iyong dahilan kung bakit kailangang mag-extend,” she told reporters at the sidelines of her Metro Laylayan visit in Barangay Catmon, Malabon.
“Mas mabuti din na iyong Kongreso, parang pagdebatehan siya at pag-usapan, para kung iga-grant ito, iga-grant dahil pinag-usapan nang maayos. Kung ide-deny naman, ide-deny siya kasi napag-usapan nang maayos,” she added.
VP Leni reiterated this as she was asked to comment on how long an extension should be granted by Congress.
“Wala kasi ako sa lugar para sabihin kung kailangan, kung how long, kasi maraming impormasyon na wala naman tayo. Kaya mahalaga iyong usapin siguro sa Saturday sa Kongreso, kasi doon ilalahad kung bakit kailangang i-extend at bakit kailangang hanggang December 31,” she said.
The ongoing clashes have displaced thousands of residents of Marawi City who sought refuge in nearby cities and towns. Most of them are considered “home-based” evacuees.
VP Leni has visited some of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in evacuation centers in Balo-i and Iligan City, where her office—through its Angat Buhay advocacy program—has been extending assistance, with the help of private partners.
The Vice President noted that she has heard mixed reactions from evacuees about martial law, and added that many of them are most concerned with how soon the situation will normalize in the area.
“Iba-iba iyong pakiramdam ng mga evacuees. Maraming mga lumalabas na mga sentiments—mga sentiments na naiintindihan natin dahil sa labanang ito, biktima din sila. Sila iyong pinakabiktima,” she said. “Pero iyong pinaka-concern talaga sa isipan, sa kanila, ‘Kailan ito matatapos at kailan kami makakabalik?’”