Mindanao comes under Martial Law. Duterte flies back from his Russia visit. Marawi situation not yet under control.

Martial Law imposed.

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The writing was always on the wall for all to read; the only question was, when? The lawlessness and religious fanaticism apart, even the Communists, supposedly friends of the masses, were on the rampage.
It may pain the patriots but a spade is a spade. Look at any aspect of life in the Philippines; you will find it mired in the worst forms of corruption, crime and violence.
Human lives come cheap in this relatively poor nation and so are:
• Illegal drugs,
• Minors of either sex for perverted usage,
• Weapons,
• Terror outfits, and
• Corrupt officials.
That is not all; the common man needed someone like Duterte to handle the wrongs of the Filipino nation. In addition, it was Duterte’s ruthless handling that was required for this country.
But, it is now almost a year of his governance where he tried magnanimity to bring peace to the homeland. But, the lawless are not used to being ruled; they rule the poor helpless masses with a firm hand.
The firmer alternative
The President of the Philippines has seen it all; and, he decided that he has had enough. His dam of patience has burst; he will not play second fiddle to the bandits or anyone else.
All it required to blow the fuse happened in the past few days. Consequently, as of 10 p.m. of May 23, he clamped Martial law on the complete island of Mindanao.
That this happened while he was on a state visit to Russia is not relevant. However, the terror attack by the Maute group in Marawi was probably planned to coincide with the trip.
Ernesto Abella, the Chief Presidential Legal Advisor clarified that the clamping of Martial law is normally for 60 days.
The imposition of Martial Law is justified on grounds of rebellion and continues for 60 days. Article 7 of section 18 of the Constitution permits imposition of Martial Law, Menardo Guevarra, Dy. Executive Secretary said.
Therefore, President Duterte cut short his four day trip to Russia postponing his meetings and engagements.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano remained behind to reset the schedule and planning the postponed schedule. In fact, Cayetano would be taking care of the agreements that will be signed between the two nations.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed that, even though clashes were taking place in Marawi, there was more trouble elsewhere. Trouble was simmering in other parts of southern Philippines.
Lorenzana justified this action since the problem was not reaching anywhere through magnanimity and peace. Moreover, President Duterte had been repeatedly warning the trouble mongers that they should not push too far. But, the maute and others just kept forcing his hand with impunity.
Hence, President Duterte had resorted to just another tool available under the Constitution of the Philippines.
The incident
The troops received intelligence inputs about a wanted terrorist who was hiding in Marawi. When the raid occurred, a fierce gun battle ensued. When the fighting escalated, the terrorists called for reinforcements.
The maute then burned down several residences and establishments. They also occupied the city hall, the jail and a hospital. The troops will soon control the situation Lorenzana stated.
The imposition of Martial Law arms the security forces with sweeping powers including arrest without warrant. Thus, the lawless elements will not have access to the normal legal tools.
The writ of habeas corpus remains suspended for the duration of the Martial law, he said. Thereby, the government will be able to control the militants and their disruptive activities.
The imposition was necessary to prevent the deterioration of the circumstances. The forces of the government are still in control; they will rectify the situation shortly, Abella stated.
The marauders will not be able to kill, loot, kidnap or destroy property.
Proper consultations with the high officials ensued prior to the imposition of martial Law.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Wednesday, 24 May 2017