Threat environment must go.
PICS: Inquirer.net and ABC news
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The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Thursday that Martial Law in Mindanao was only temporary. But, the conditions that necessitated its imposition would have to be taken care of first, clarified.
In effect, the winding up operations in Marawi City will have to be finished satisfactorily. In addition, the threat perception from terror groups will need to be decrease substantially.
The other areas of Mindanao are also under the influence of Islamic radicals and need attention. Thus, a feeling of safety was essential to convince him to restore normalcy.
This was in response to the queries of newsmen as to when Martial Law will go.
But, for the moment, the government forces are conducting house to house searches in Marawi City. This is an unpredictable and it is difficult to assign a time frame to it, he stated. This was the fifth trip of the President after the siege began on May 23.
There are reports that the escaping and hiding terrorists may have spread out in the areas surrounding Marawi City. Unless we eradicate this spillage of terror groups, Martial Law will stay since the safety of public is at stake.
It is highly likely that sympathizers and hidden groups will try to foment trouble again. We must ensure that this does not happen since we cannot take any chances with public safety.
Even though some AFP sources claim victory, we must confirm that it is so. There cannot be any ambiguity in this matter, the President declared. When questioned as to when the rehabilitation work will begin in Marawi City, he assured that it would be immediately as and when the normal people can walk freely in the streets of Marawi City.
It was obvious that workers will need freedom of movement to start rehabilitation work. The fear of molestation presents the start of routine salvage and rebuilding work, he said.
The President declared Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao Province on May 23. There were large-scale kidnappings and killings by Islamic State-inspired killer groups like the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Maute.
The Islamist marauders wanted to establish a permanent Caliphate for the Islamic State in the Philippines. But, they did not consider two factors that would prevent their success.
The first factor was the tough fighter Duterte who would not bend or compromise.
The second surprising resistance came from local Islamic groups who were not harsh killers. They believed in fighting the government but kept negotiating with the government while also cooperating with government on several welfare projects.
On July 22, the House of Representatives duly extended Martial Law till the end of 2017.
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Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Friday, September 22, 2017