Panelo: Duterte may declare another martial law in Mindanao if needed

By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / 

Photo: Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo. NESTOR CORRALES/ FILE PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte could declare another martial law should he seek to extend his current declaration in Mindanao and Congress won’t approve it, his chief legal counsel said on Wednesday.

Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo was asked what the President would do once his martial law declaration in Mindanao had reached the 60-day limit.

“If Congress does not extend on the 60th day upon initiative of the President then there can be no extension. Another proclamation is necessary,” he said in a text message to reporters.


Under the 1987 Constitution, the Congress, upon the initiative of the President, “may extend such proclamation [of martial law] or the suspension [of the writ of habeas corpus] for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”

In a Palace briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla said the military may seek extension of martial law in Mindanao if necessary, citing that they have not assessed yet if they have already met the “conditions” determining the need for the persistence of military rule in the area.

“We have set conditions that would specifically act as the standards whether martial law [in Mindanao] should be extended or not. [But] the assessment regarding whether those conditions have been met has not yet been made,” Padilla said.

He reiterated that the military won’t set a deadline on the liberation of Mindanao from the Maute terrorists, saying it would be “unfair to the troops,” as they were already focused in monitoring the presence of the terrorists all over the archipelago through manhunt operations.

“We are doing our best to finish this once and for all. With the way our progress is going on, we are confident with a positive indication of the movement of our troops in the area that we are occupying,” he said.

Padilla said that the AFP would have been able to carry out military operations in Mindanao even without the aid of martial law, but not as expeditious as allowed by the presence of the military rule.

“Since martial law was there, and the writ of habeas corpus was suspended alongside the declaration, it expedited the process,” he added.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit at the wake of the Bulacan massacre victims on Tuesday, he said that the extension of martial law is upon the decision of the military.

“Our number one duty is to defend and protect the Filipino people,” he told reporters.

Duterte imposed martial law on May 23 after the AFP and the Philippine National Police told him during his visit in Russia that Marawi was in a “critical situation” following the attacks carried by Islamic State-allied gunmen.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday validated Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, deeming it legal and constitutional.

The martial law, which the Constitution limits to 60 days, is supposed to ‪end on July 22. With a report from Winona Sadia, trainee/JE



Duterte slams NPA over conflicting statements

By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter /

Photo: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Marawi

President Rodrigo Duterte slammed on Wednesday the New People’s Army (NPA) for its conflicting orders against its fighters.

“Ang hindi ko talaga maintindihan, kung meron dito nakikinig na NPA, talagang sumasabog yung ulo ninyo,” Duterte told soldiers of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade in Sarangani.

“First you directed your soldiers to fight, to engage us…government. Mayamaya nagsabi kayo tutulong kayo to fight alongside with government. Mayamaya nandito na naman fight na naman kayo despite of just really doing what you want to say or say what you want to do, ito ini-engkwentro na naman ninyo,” he added.

The President said he doubted the sincerity of the communist rebels with their conflicting statements.

“Kaya ako di ako kumukumpyansa,” he said,

Malacañang had earlier said it was disturbed by the recent attacks of communist rebels even after the National Democratic Front (NDF) ordered its armed wing to refrain from launching offensive against state forces.

In a separate speech in Hagonoy, Davao de Sur, Duterte said the government must continue to talk peace with the communists.

“I have to talk to the communists but this time I hope you do it in a modality that is really sincere,” he said.

The President appealed to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison saying, “You are sick, you are not dying but you are seriously sick. Wouldn’t you be happy to see and to die that there is peace in this country before you finally close your eyes?”



Coin donations help feed Marawi kids

By: Carla P. Gomez - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer

Photo: Marawi children enjoy their Mingo meals, courtesy of donations raised by ordinary citizens. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BACOLOD CITY — Coins donated by children and ordinary people have helped a Negrense organization feed children displaced by the fighting in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province.

The coins came from the piggy banks of children, the earnings of tricycle drivers, a housewife’s fund drive and children wanting to reach out to the victims of the conflict in Marawi.

Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation kicked off a campaign to send Mingo, an instant meal made of rice, monggo and malunggay, to thousands of children in Marawi, less than a week after the fighting erupted in May.

The group has sent 388,775 packs of instant meals to Marawi children staying in evacuation sites.

“As soon as we knew evacuees were converging in centers, our hearts bled and we were tempted to immediately shout out for people to help,” NVC president Millie Kilayko said. “But we carefully chose trustworthy ground partners in Iligan City, who could efficiently carry out the task.”

She said their first shipment arrived in Iligan on May 31, about a week after the fighting erupted.

As of end of June, NVC had listed 15 government and nongovernment groups as partners. They distributed the Mingo meals brought by volunteers to evacuation sites and to areas where evacuees were staying.

The group’s campaign to raise funds for the Mingo meals through social media snowballed.

Eight men from Hinigaran town in Negros Occidental province, who received tricycles from NVC’s livelihood project three years ago, turned over P5,800 of their earnings, enough to buy 1,000 Mingo meals.

Pia Golez Camus, a mother of four and a resident of Metro Manila, started a “begging” mission to collect funds for the children of Marawi.

She distributed tin cans to her fellow volunteer housewives with an appeal for people to drop their coins to feed the children of Marawi.

“People are just waiting to be asked for help,” she said.

Camus said she decided to appeal for coins because it makes it easier for people to want to donate.

“I have a very deep respect for coins now,” she said. “[It’s such a waste that] these are just left around, discarded.”

She said a donation of P5.80 could already feed a child.

“If more people put coins in tin cans more children of Marawi could be fed,” she said, adding that P40 could already feed seven children.

Isa Lovina, who produces children’s dresses, sent in a 5-kilogram piggy bank, which her 10-year-old grandson, Sebastian, a sixth grader at Xavier School in San Juan City, wanted to give to the children of Marawi.

From the donations of more than 50 people, most of them her former students, retired teacher Bugsy Lopez Bongco was able to send 58,924 Mingo meals to Marawi.

Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod students led by Desiree Daniel and Marjorie Eslawa also raised funds for Mingo meals.

Aside from donating their school allowance, brothers Diego, 13, and Andreo, 12, Barrientos started a “Change for Change” drive at the law office of their Negrense mother, Reggie Jacinto-Barrientos, in Makati City to raise funds for Marawi evacuees.

For more information on the Mingo for Marawi drive, visit www.nvcfoundation-ph.
org/marawi or contact NVC Foundation’s office (034) 435-5568 or 0917-3000342.



ID cards proposed to stop terrorists

By: Tonette Orejas - @ttorejasINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer

Photo: DISPLACED Maranaos displaced by fighting in Marawi City have sought temporary residences in communities away from their home city. Others, however, are staying and waiting to be housed in an 11-hectare “tent city” in the village of Sagonsong. —JEOFFREY MAITEM

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Central Luzon police on Tuesday encouraged 200 Muslim leaders in the region to adopt an identification (ID) system similar to the one being enforced in Tarlac province’s Muslim communities to prevent the spread of terrorism and lawlessness.

The Tarlac police and the local governments of Paniqui town and Tarlac City implemented the ID scheme after President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao when the Islamic State-backed Maute terror group and Abu Sayyaf bandits took over parts of Marawi City on May 23.

The Tarlac City ID system was started two weeks ago by Mayor Christy Angeles.

Some 2,000 Marawi City residents, who moved to the Tarlac provincial capital prior to the Marawi attack, were required to bring their ID cards and present these when asked by authorities, said Abdul Jabbar, a leader of the United Muslim Association of Tarlac (Umat).

“This best practice (Tarlac ID system) can be replicated in Central Luzon,” said Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, regional police director, on the sidelines of a Muslim Leaders’ Forum at Benigno Aquino Hall in this Pampanga capital.

Top police officials and military commanders discussed the Marawi City situation and the strides made in the campaign to defeat terrorists.

Most of the 26,000 Muslims in Central Luzon hail from Marawi City, many of them traders, Aquino said. He said 103 mosques have been put up in the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales for local communities.

In the forum, no Muslim leader questioned the ID proposal’s potential impact on civil and political rights.

Lawyer Jasmin Regino, regional director of the Commission on Human rights, said an ID system among Muslims is “discriminatory.”

“It is a form of branding, segregation,” she said when asked for comments on the proposal.

Jabbar said the Tarlac ID system had been helpful in sorting out new migrants from longtime residents. “We are able to control who do not belong to our group [Umat]. We don’t want the Marawi City problem to happen in Tarlac City,” Jabbar said.

The Tarlac ID cards were issued to persons aged 11 and above. Settlers are required to present themselves to Umat leaders to verify their identities and purpose of staying in Tarlac.

Muslims in the San Isidro resettlement in Magalang town in Pampanga province have not relied on any ID system, according to their leader, Masa Ampuan. “But we know the new faces. We have a way of knowing them,” he said.

Aquino assured the assembly that no Maute group member was operating in Central Luzon, amid what he described as “fake news” about supposed plots to bomb oil depots and shopping malls in the region.

“There is no direct threat to our region. We have been preventing terrorists from [setting up a base] in Central Luzon through our enhanced intelligence efforts,” he said.

In Cotabato City, police released four persons, all surnamed Maute, after investigators finished validating their identities and learned that they had no ties to the leaders of terrorists who seized a section of Marawi City in May.

Supt. James Allan Logan, regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-ARMM), said the local government of Marogong in Lanao del Sur province confirmed that Alimatar, Apok, Saida and Mohammad Ali, all surnamed Maute, had been cleared of any relationship, by blood or by affinity, with the Maute terrorist group.

Law-abiding citizens
The Mautes, Logan said, presented documents showing they were law-abiding citizens and went to Cotabato City to apply for clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation.

Alimatar is a former town councilor who served as chair of Barangay Puracan in Marogong and president of the town’s association of village chiefs. He is the treasurer of Barangay Puracan.

Apok, on the other hand, is a retired school principal, also in Marogong.

Logan said the Mautes, while in CIDG-ARMM custody, were treated well and were not detained. —With a report from Edwin O. Fernandez



Bulacan massacre suspect found dead

By Ramon Efren Lazaro and Ric Sapnu (The Philippine Star)

Photo: President Duterte visits the wake of a family of five slain in Barangay Sto. Cristo, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan yesterday.

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Philippines – A suspect in the killing of five members of a family in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on June 27 was found dead yesterday morning.

The body of Rolando Pacinos, alias Inggo, was dumped along Palmera Drive, Phase 7 in Barangay Sto. Cristo.

Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat, Bulacan police acting director, said Dapsy Daud, president of the homeowners association at Palmera, found the victim under a tree at around 6:30 a.m. A piece of cardboard that read, “addict at rapist ako huwag tularan (I’m an addict and rapist, don’t emulate),” was found near the body of the victim, whose neck was also tied with a pump belt. There were reports that the body of the victim bore signs of torture.

The body was discovered a few hours before President Duterte and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa visited the wake of the victims.

Carmelino Ibañes, who confessed to the killings, pointed to Pacinos as one of his two accomplices. An alias Tony, who was earlier considered a “person of interest,” was taken in for questioning last Friday, but later released to his family.

Superintendent Fitz Macariola, San Jose del Monte police chief, earlier said they could not arrest the two men unless the court issues a warrant.

The bodies of Auring Dizon, 58; her daughter Estrella Carlos, 28, and Carlos’ children Donnie, 11; Ella, 7, and Dexter Jr., 1, which bore 32, 45, 15, 19 and five stab wounds, respectively, were found by Carlos’ husband Dexter Sr. as he arrived from work.

Rody vows justice
The President vowed justice for the victims even as he warned criminals that they could not escape from the law.

“There will be justice. How? They said one has been killed. If that’s the case, there will be many more to come,” Duterte said. “You know that wherever you go, I will catch up with you.”

When asked if he gave the police a deadline to resolve the killings, Duterte said: “No, but it should be as soon as possible.”

Duterte said he offered a housing unit and gave P275,000 in cash and a cell phone to Dexter Sr. “I told him if there’s anything you would need and you think I can help, call me,” he said.

Duterte reiterated that he is ready to kill those who would destroy the country and the youth.

“I don’t give a s**t about human rights. I don’t care about them. I have a job to do and my job is to see to it, I will repeat, to preserve and defend the Filipino nation. That’s about it,” he said.

The President also mocked human rights advocates, saying he is willing to give them the responsibility of addressing the drug problem in the country.

Duterte said human rights advocates should begin their campaign by talking to criminals. “Tell the criminals to stop the godd**n s**t so there will be no more killings,” he said. – With Alexis Romero


Maute gun suppliers busted in Batangas

(The Philippine Star)

Photo:Arrested were Romel Litan, the alleged leader of the gang, and members Angelo Magcamit, Ramil Quinones and Christian Rey Quinones.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Litan admitted that some of the firearms recovered from the Maute group came from them. 

MANILA, Philippines - Police are believed to have busted a gunrunning syndicate allegedly supplying firearms to Maute terrorists who attacked Marawi City after law enforcers arrested four gang members in Lipa City, Batangas over the weekend.

Arrested were Romel Litan, the alleged leader of the gang, and members Angelo Magcamit, Ramil Quinones and Christian Rey Quinones.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Litan admitted that some of the firearms recovered from the Maute group came from them.

Dela Rosa said some of the guns recovered in Marawi by government troops are similar to the design and color of some of the firearms recovered.

“The suspect himself painted the guns,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino when the 30 pieces of firearms and gun parts recovered from the suspects in Lipa City were presented to the media at the lobby of PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Dela Rosa showed a silencer for high-powered firearms, similar to the equipment being used by the Maute bandits.
Since May 23, Maute terrorists have been fighting government troops that resulted in the death of soldiers, policemen, civilians and bandits, causing enormous damage in Marawi City.

House-to-house fighting in the urban area had resulted in the death of more than 300 suspected terrorists, some 40 civilians and over 80 government troops since the clashes started.

Aside from the Maute group, Dela Rosa said Litan also admitted supplying unregistered firearms to other criminal gangs operating in Metro Manila, Luzon and Mindanao.

Dela Rosa said the raid in Purok 2, Barangay Sampaguita in Lipa City was conducted after a search warrant was issued by a local judge.

The PNP chief said Litan claimed they have connections with the police and military that are facilitating the transport of firearms, thus Dela Rosa said he would order an investigation to identify their protectors.

Investigators also gathered that the group has sold a total of 671 firearms to different crime groups since December 2015.
Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said the suspects were charged with illegal manufacturing of firearms.

“Litan’s group has no license to manufacture, license to repair, license to make guns or license to operate,” said Obusan.

The military said the Maute terror group and their Abu Sayyaf allies together with ordinary criminals have reportedly robbed private houses and commercial establishments in war-torn Marawi City and the terrorists have allegedly amassed an estimated P500 million in cash, jewelry and other valuables.

Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesman for Joint Task Force Marawi, said at least 10 hostages who escaped from the custody of the Maute group confirmed the burglary and organized looting in the conflict areas since the terrorists attacked the city last May 23.

Herrera said the 10 hostages subsequently rescued by government troops told the military that the terrorists forced the Christian captives to convert to Islam or be killed.

The hostages claimed that the Maute group also forced them to ransack houses and establishments while they were guarded by armed men.

Herrera said the hostages took ammunition, firearms, cash, gold and jewelry from abandoned houses and buildings on orders of the gunmen.

The military said the former hostages disclosed that their group alone was able to take an estimated P500 million in cash and other valuables.

Some residents and owners of commercial establishments in the battle zone earlier complained that buildings were ransacked and they lost cash and other valuables.

Herrera said the military is now validating the reports of the hostages.

Citing military officials, Herrera said intense fighting continued between troopers and the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists at the center of Marawi City. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Roel Pareño, John Unso



Trillanes’ ‘unparliamentary’ behavior may lead to ethics probe

By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star)

Photo:Senators from the majority bloc, perceived to be allies of Duterte, bristled at Trillanes’ jab on Monday, with some dismissing him as a desperate attention-seeker. Senate PRIB, File

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is facing a possible investigation by the Senate ethics committee after calling his colleagues “lapdogs” and the Senate a rubber stamp of President Duterte.

Senators from the majority bloc, perceived to be allies of Duterte, bristled at Trillanes’ jab on Monday, with some dismissing him as a desperate attention-seeker.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito suggested that the ethics panel investigate Trillanes “since he is becoming damaging to the institution and becoming destructive to the country.”

He described the comments of his colleague from the minority bloc as disrespectful and unparliamentary.

“He should be reminded that as a democratic institution, we in the Senate debate issues instead of hurling insults; we vote instead of calling each other names when we disagree,” Ejercito said.

He said all 23 senators were independent, and when they disagree on a number of issues, they maintain their respect for one another.

“I hope Senator Trillanes would do the same. I hope he will stop destroying this institution simply because he is rabidly against this administration,” Ejercito said.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who chairs the committee, said the panel may investigate Trillanes motu propio but he prefers that a formal complaint be filed.

“I do not know his reasons for saying that. He should be careful in calling us names. I won’t dignify his statements but I’m reminding him that when you point a finger at others, three fingers point at you,” Sotto said.

Sen. Richard Gordon dismissed Trillanes as someone who craves attention.

Trillanes said he would welcome any ethics complaint filed against him.

“But here’s the thing, if Senator Ejercito believes that my statement that the Senate is becoming a lapdog of the Duterte administration is highly offensive yet sees nothing wrong with Duterte’s rape comments to the soldiers, then we really have a problem,” he said.

Trillanes earlier hit his colleagues from the majority, who he said have refused to investigate issues hounding Duterte, which shows the Senate has failed to fulfill its role as the “last bastion of democracy.”


Martial Law proclamation upheld

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) 

Photo: A majority or 11 of the 15 justices of the high court voted in regular session to dismiss the three consolidated petitions against Duterte’s decision to place the entire Mindanao under martial law through Proclamation 216. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte’s martial law declaration that set into motion a bloody campaign to retake a city besieged by terrorists is definitely legal, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled yesterday.

A majority or 11 of the 15 justices of the high court voted in regular session to dismiss the three consolidated petitions against Duterte’s decision to place the entire Mindanao under martial law through Proclamation 216.

The proclamation set the stage for the battle to recapture Marawi City from Maute terrorists who are believed to have links to the Middle East-based Islamic State (IS). Aiding the Maute militants are Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Isnilon Hapilon.

More than 400 have been killed since the start of the siege of the predominantly Muslim city on May 23.

“The Court dismissed the petitions by a vote of 11 of its members; three members voted to partially grant the petitions and one member voted to grant the petitions,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press conference. “That’s all I am authorized to announce.”

Petitioners wanted Proclamation 216 revoked for lack of necessary factual basis.

Te said only after all of the 15 magistrates have submitted their respective opinions on the case today would their opinions be made public.

SC sources said three of the justices believed martial law was justified only in Marawi: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Alfredo Caguioa.

Only Justice Marvic Leonen believed there was no basis for martial law, the sources said.

The rest upheld Proclamation 216: Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Jose Mendoza, Diosdado Peralta, Bienvenido Reyes, Noel Tijam and Presbitero Velasco Jr.

While Te announced the outcome of the voting, he did not reveal details such as how each of the justices had voted.

President Duterte slammed those who did not uphold Proclamation 216.

“When you declare martial law, you have to use your coconut, the grey matter between your ears,” the President said in a chance interview in Bulacan, as he explained that the Mindanao-wide coverage was meant to prevent a spillover of the Maute threat.

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the development has made Duterte more determined to end the “evil of terrorism” in Mindanao.

“He will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi. With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy,” Abella said.

In dismissing the petitions against martial law, Abella said the SC has acknowledged that ending the Marawi siege was a “shared responsibility” of everyone.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had earlier voiced support for martial law in Mindanao.

“The High Court has spoken: Proclamation 216 is constitutional. The President is sworn to protect the Filipino people,” Abella said.

“We ask the public to give their full support and cooperation to local authorities. After all, securing communities is a responsibility that must be shared by everyone,” he said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said the SC, in its ruling, has affirmed the existence of a “real and present rebellion that threatens the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, and their much-cherish liberties.”

Calida led the defense of Duterte’s proclamation before the high tribunal.

“I am grateful to the magistrates of the Honorable Supreme Court for allowing President Duterte to perform his prime duty of protecting the Filipino people,” Calida said in a statement.

“As the conscience of our nation, the Supreme Court did not sit idly to watch our country get dismembered. In fact, this decision shows that the Honorable Supreme Court is one with the President in protecting and defending our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

“Finally, I implore the whole country to unite and pray that the bloody war in Mindanao will end the soonest. It is my fervent hope that stability and lasting peace be attained in the whole Mindanao,” Calida stressed.

During oral arguments last June 13 to 15, Calida argued that the attack of the Maute group was not just an act of terror, but a clear rebellion and a plot to establish an Islamic State in Mindanao.

Checks and balance
Vice President Leni Robredo said the SC’s decision was “an affirmation of the democratic set in our Constitution.”

“This is an important component of the mandated checks and balances to martial law,” Robredo said in a statement, referring to the SC ruling.

“We expect that Congress will likewise fulfill its constitutional duty to review, on behalf of the people, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao,” she said.

As expected, senators from the majority bloc welcomed the SC ruling.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he had no doubt that Duterte “validly, with factual basis, declared martial law.”

“Nothing surprising with the SC decision. I actually expected that. The SC was just doing its job,” Pimentel said.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said the SC ruling has put to rest all questions on the legality of the martial law declaration. “It is time to show a united front against terrorism and lawless violence and, more importantly, begin the urgent work of rebuilding the communities in Marawi City,” he said.

“The intention is to contain the area of conflict and to put an end to the rebellion by the terrorist Maute group. No threat to basic freedom and Constitution is functioning. The real intent is to crush terrorism and rebellion, and nothing else,” Ejercito said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, said the factual basis for the proclamation is clear enough “that there could not have been any other ruling as overwhelmingly decisive as the one rendered by the SC.”

“I knew we did right in supporting the martial law proclamation in Mindanao when we debated on it in caucus and in plenary,” Lacson said.

“I can only hope that none of our Senate colleagues will call the magistrates lapdogs and cowards of the administration,” he said, referring to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s comment on fellow senators.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said he felt relieved on learning of the decision as it could help government troops battle “these Maute terrorists and their affiliates, without a cloud of doubt on their mandate to do so.”

“The government must now focus and concentrate on getting rid of this menace in the whole of Mindanao and start the rehabilitation plan of all the affected areas so that we may achieve normalcy and ultimately economic development and inclusive growth in the region,” Zubiri said.

He cited the magistrates “who showed judicial probity, independence and progressive thinking in their exercise of judicial review powers.”

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said with the ruling, Duterte now has a free hand “to use all necessary means to crush the Maute terrorists, once and for all.”

“Now that the SC has spoken, it is time to set aside politics and work together in reclaiming Marawi and bringing the city back to its glory,” Gatchalian said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva also welcomed the ruling but stressed the need to consider the other issues raised in the decision, particularly the scope of the martial law declaration.

Sen. Richard Gordon said the benefits of the SC ruling would be truly felt after the elimination of the Maute group. “The winner must always be the people,” Gordon said.

He said it is time for the government to focus on “fixing the situation” in Marawi City and the rest of Mindanao.

“Now that the President has the support of the court and Congress, he should use that support, not to be overconfident, but certainly because we believe that there is a situation occurring in the country that must be solved,” Gordon said.

Sen. Sonny Angara said he went around Mindanao last week and talked with some evacuees, who told him they felt safe under martial law.

“I think the 1987 Constitution has enough safeguards to protect the people from possible abuses,” Angara said.

“We call on our government to fast-track all efforts to bring Marawi back to its feet. This crisis has resulted in human cost that cannot be calculated in pesos and we must ensure that normalcy in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao will be restored,” he said.

Senators also believe the favorable SC ruling would make it less difficult for Duterte to convince Congress to extend martial law beyond July 22.

Pimentel stressed the ruling only justified the declaration but not any extension of martial law, which he said was “possible.”

Gordon warned any unnecessary deadline to end martial law may do more harm than good, even as he believes that lawmakers will support an extension.

“Congress saw it, they called it, they approved it and because there’s a lot of people suffering there right now, it is in the interest of the country that we keep it there, we keep the fighting there and we must finish it there so it won’t spread,” he said. “I’m not confident that it will end soon.”

Villanueva stressed there are several issues that need to be clarified before martial law is expanded or extended.

“We have to ask what it has accomplished relative to the problem of terrorism in Mindanao,” he said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said that while he respects the ruling of the Supreme Court, he wanted Malacañang to consider the opinions of the three justices about limiting the scope of martial law to Marawi City.

House allies of President Duterte commended the Supreme Court for upholding the 60-day martial law.

House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Reps. Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao), Gus Tambunting (Parañaque), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City), Harry Roque (Kabayan), Joel Mayo Almario (Davao Oriental) and Aniceto Bertiz III (ACTS-OFW) all welcomed the ruling.

“It’s a very convincing and definitive ruling, not to mention an overwhelming one. We thank our esteemed magistrates for acknowledging the President’s powers, and that of Congress as well, being an independent and co-equal branch,” Abu said.

“This leaves no doubt that the decision of the President was correct and he should be commended for his swift and decisive action,” Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said.

“The ruling is good for the country. It avoids a constitutional crisis. And it recognizes that the problem in Mindanao is complex, the solution to which is something that the judiciary must not impede the executive from achieving,” Tambuting maintained.

“I support the SC’s exercise of judicial restraint in its validation of Proclamation 216. I’m happy that it respected and acknowledged the information that is readily available to the executive, which the high tribunal does not have access to,” Roque stressed.

For his part, Almario said the SC verdict was “an expected decision.”

“The peace and order situation when martial law was declared called for it, and it squarely satisfied the conditions set forth by the 1987 Constitution,” he said.

“The timely declaration of martial law has once again showed the wisdom and determination of the President to curb extremism and lawlessness which will not only affect Maranaos but all Filipinos,” Bertiz emphasized. – With Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Helen Flores, Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez


20 years after the Asian Financial Crisis: What have we learned?

By Takehiko Nakao (The Philippine Star

Photo:)This month marks 20 years since the Asian Financial Crisis. It’s appropriate to consider at this juncture why the crisis happened, and what we have learned about how countries can safeguard their economies from future shocks and deliver sustainable and inclusive growth. File

MANILA, Philippines - This month marks 20 years since the Asian Financial Crisis. It’s appropriate to consider at this juncture why the crisis happened, and what we have learned about how countries can safeguard their economies from future shocks and deliver sustainable and inclusive growth.

The combined currency and banking crises started in Thailand in July 1997 and quickly spread to the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. In little more than a year, gross domestic product at the five crisis-affected countries fell by a combined 30 percent.

The crisis can be traced to the premature opening-up of capital accounts before domestic financial systems and regulations were ready. Short-term borrowing was liberalized even more than long-term foreign direct investment in those countries.

Encouraged by dollar-pegged exchange rates, portfolio investment and bank loans from advanced economies flooded into Asia before the crisis, fueling domestic asset and property price bubbles. Large short-term US-denominated debts financed long-term domestic investments, creating currency and maturity mismatches. Once it became clear they were unsustainable, capital flows suddenly reversed. This led to large devaluations of the currencies and massive bank defaults.

The international community quickly came to the rescue. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the region’s governments provided foreign exchange liquidity and budget support. ADB offered $7.8 billion in loans over two years, mainly through fast disbursing policy-based lending for financial sector reform and social protection to Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

In the event, countries recovered faster than expected. After the initial stabilization measures, authorities at crisis-affected countries reinforced sound macroeconomic policies supported by fiscal prudence and more independent central banks. They adopted more flexible exchange rates, strengthened financial sector regulation and governance and implemented structural reforms. Countries adopted more prudent approaches to capital account liberalization with better sequencing, consistent with domestic economic conditions. The crisis also gave strong impetus to regional cooperation initiatives.

Today, Asia has a stronger economic outlook. Developing Asia’s economies grew 6.8 percent yearly over the past two decades, faster than any other region. The region’s growth now relies much more on domestic demand. These achievements belie criticisms during the crisis that Asia’s growth miracle was a myth and unsustainable.

I believe that the development pattern in Asia is evolving from the “flying geese model” popular in the 1960s, in which certain industries shifted from the front runner – Japan – to the “four tigers” and others as technology advanced. It is now based on a “production sharing network model,” in which different countries share parts of production processes, not necessarily reflecting their development stages.

This new process enables developing countries to integrate into the regional and global value chains more quickly, thereby facilitating technical and skills transfers which broaden growth opportunities for late comers.

But Asia should not be complacent. Around 330 million of its people still live in absolute poverty, and many economies are experiencing rising inequality. Further steps are needed to make economies more resilient and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.

First, countries must continue pursuing sound macroeconomic policies. They need to keep adequate fiscal space and international reserve buffers against future shocks. The region requires greater revenues from tax reforms and better collection to finance infrastructure and social sector needs.

Second, countries need deeper and broader financial systems. In addition to sound banking sectors, they need strong capital markets, especially in local currency bonds, both sovereign and corporate. The ASEAN+3 Asian Bond Markets Initiative, supported by ADB, has helped to expand outstanding local currency bonds from $1 trillion in 2002 to over $10 trillion in 2016.

Third, both macro- and micro-prudential policies are critical to maintain financial stability. Cross-border capital flows, domestic credit growth and asset price inflation should be monitored closely. And much wider financial inclusion is needed, not just to support social equity, but to enhance sustainable growth by boosting access to financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises and for households.

Fourth, the region must narrow large infrastructure gaps, which ADB estimates will require over $1.7 trillion a year through 2030. Over 400 million people still lack electricity and about 300 million have no access to safe drinking water.

Fifth, Asia must also address climate change risks through both mitigation and adaptation measures. By using smart urban planning and technology, Asian cities can be more resilient and livable.

Sixth, human capital development is essential for countries to advance and avoid the middle-income trap. Education systems should equip people with the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to a rapidly-evolving technology and business environment. Adequate health services are urgently needed.

Finally, regional cooperation can mitigate risks from globalization. Financial crises are becoming more frequent and costly in a world of free capital flows and financial liberalization.

Strengthening regional financial cooperation for emergency financing, macroeconomic surveillance and collective efforts for financial sector development through initiatives such as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization will contribute to macroeconomic and financial stability.

Asia is in a much stronger position than 20 years ago, but should remain vigilant.

Takehiko Nakao is president of the Asian Development Bank.


Reds’ continued attacks amid peace talks confuse DND

By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) 

Photo:The Department of National Defense (DND) is “confused” by the signals being sent by leftist rebels after the Communist Party of the Philippines issued another statement directing its ground forces to continue launching offensives despite the ongoing peace talks. AP/File

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is “confused” by the signals being sent by leftist rebels after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued another statement directing its ground forces to continue launching offensives despite the ongoing peace talks.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the action of the CPP is “not conducive to talking about peace.”

“How can you talk about peace but the other side is attacking police and military?” he told reporters yesterday at Malacañang.

“That’s confusing… We have to have a bilateral ceasefire then we talk. How can we have meaningful talks if we continue to fight with each other? I’m confused with them. They want to talk but refuse to stop the fighting,” he added.

Lorenzana believes the rebels do not want to lay down their arms because they are earning a lot from what he described as “extortion” activities.

The government suspended the fifth round of talks with the communists in May after the CPP had ordered the New People’s Army (NPA), its armed wing, to intensify offensives against government forces implementing martial law in Mindanao.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), the communists’ negotiating panel, then asked the rebel forces to refrain from attacking soldiers and policemen in Mindanao so that they could focus on clearing Marawi City of terrorists. The government reciprocated the declaration.

Some rebel fighters, however, figured in violent incidents in Iloilo and Davao after the NDF issued the directive.

In a statement released during the first anniversary of the Duterte administration, the CPP said the NPA must “do everything to rapidly build new platoons and companies of regular guerrilla forces and local guerrilla units to enable the people the opportunity to rise up with arms against their exploiters and oppressors.”

“In the face of the Duterte regime’s all-out war, the NPA must continue to seize the initiative and carry out more and more tactical offensives nationwide in order to derail and blunt the all-out attacks of the (Armed Forces of the Philippines), punish the most notorious human rights abusers, defend the interests of the people and bring forward the people’s war,” the CPP said.

Subscribe to this RSS feed


Sign up to keep in touch!

Be the first to hear about special offers and exclusive deals from TechNews and our partners.

Check out our Privacy Policy & Terms of use
You can unsubscribe from email list at any time