A joint session of Congress last December 13 approved the request. Voting 240-27, lawmakers said there were sufficient reason to extend.
Fourteen senators voted for the extension. While four were against it. A total of 226 Congressman voted for extension. While 23 where against it.
A majority vote from two Chambers voted jointly. At least 158 of the 314 members of Congress was needed to pass the motion.
Last December 10, the President submitted a letter of of request for extension. To respond on attacks by different terrorist groups.
Palace: Military rule to quell rebellion
The Palace asked support from the public after the decision. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government forces will continue to work.
Towards eradicating terrorist group and lawless elements in Mindanao. Including their coddles, supporters and financiers.
Military rule would also ensure the unhampered rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Actual Rebellion vs. Threat
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said another extension would be unconstitutional. Senator Drilon was one of the people who are against in Martial Law in Mindanao. Stating that there is no actual rebellion or uprising anywhere in the country.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra defended Duterte’s request. Saying it was not based on assessment of an existing threat. But on the basis of a continuing rebellion.
Despite of the defeat of the Maute group in Marawi City. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that rebellion in some parts of the region has not stopped.
Intelligence reports revealed that the remaining members of Maute group is still growing. Conducting massive recruitment, offering P100,000.00 for each recruit.
Still, minority lawmakers said martial law should be the last option.
The Mindanao Vote
Majority of the lawmakers in Mindanao supports Duterte’s martial law.
Rep. Ansaruddin Adiong of Lanao del Sur said military rule is needed. To secure rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.
Rep. Adbullah Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte (2nd District) emphasized the effect of the Martial Law. Where his constituents prefer the presence of troops in the area. They feel safe and secure seeing military presence in their region.
However, another Mindanaoan lawmaker is against Martial law declaration. He said that martial law is not what the region needs. But better military intelligence and quicker military response. In addition, the region needs active citizenship in their communities.
Nationwide Martial Law?
Rep. Shernee Tan of Kusug-Tausug Partylist reiterated her stand. To put the entire country must be placed under Martial Law.
The presence of New People’s Army (NPA) in Luzon and Visayas is the main concern. She believed that if Martial law in Mindano worked. Possible that it would work also in Luzon and Visayas region.
Lorenzana made a stand that the extension of martial law has not related to nationwide concerns. That it’s not a prelude to a martial law nationwide. Furthermore, he does not see such possibility under present circumstances.
What do we really need?
What we really need is support and prayers. We need to trust in the decisions that were made. For the sake of the people and not for themselves.
Therefore, peace is possible if we work for it together. We need not criticize each other but to work hard to regain peace. Not only in the region, but in the whole country.
Let us support each other to end violence. Would you imagine a world with no hate or war. Instead a world with peace and love that reigns.