President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no intention of declaring martial law in Negros Island despite the spate of killings there.
“Let us make it clear. I will never declare martial law except in Mindanao,” Duterte said in his speech during the mass oath-taking of newly elected city and barangay officials in Malacañan Palace.
Duterte, however, said he has to impose drastic action like deploying more soldiers to quell lawless violence in Negros.
“You have a ruckus there in Negros. Ang sinabi kong (What I said) drastic action was that punuin ko ng sundalo (I will deploy more soldiers) just like Jolo. I have one division, tapos magpadala pa ako ng dagdag (then I will deploy more). You know, life is not really that good, that comfortable, especially with so many military around and so many checkpoints,” Duterte said.
“There will never be a time that I will declare martial law. What I said was that I would take drastic action. Martial law pati kung lagyan mo lang ng mga tropa diyan (if you add troops there) is the same,” he added.
Duterte downplayed the declaration of martial law as “just a proclamation”.
“It has nothing to do with…you do not go after innocent people. Martial law, you go after the lawless elements. So why do you have to declare it? Why do I have to tell Congress?” Duterte said.
He, however, said he may opt to declare “another thing” but did not elaborate what he meant.
“Now, if it is really something which gumaganon ang bayan (will create ruckus in the country) well I might declare another thing and that is for you to guess what would it be,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Duterte defended anew his decision to impose martial law in Mindanao following attacks launched by the ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Marawi City in 2017.
“Talagang kailangan (There is really a need), because there was already a rebellion,” Duterte said.
“Remember that ruckus in Marawi started not as an open rebellion to say that they are separating from the Republic. It was none of that. It took place because the police were there to serve a warrant of arrest in connection with a drug case. It was only drugs,” Duterte said. (PNA)
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