Cotabato Gov Mendoza: Protect army and police in implementing martial law

“We have to ensure that our army and police are protected as they implement martial law in our respective areas of responsibility.”

This was the statement of North Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza during the SOCCSCKSAGEN Regional Peace and Order Council Special Meeting on Monday May 29 attended by different local government units from Region 12 and other sectors and government agencies, held at Isulan Provincial Hall, Sultan Kudarat.

Addressing the other local chief executives present in the meeting, the governor stressed that “it is upon our mandate to ensure not only the safety of our people, but our enforcers as well.

She said the PNP and AFP who will lead the intensified campaign against terrorism and implement heightened security measures in their areas of responsibility (AORs) within martial law period must have guidelines or bases for these.

Governor Mendoza also added that the Provincial Government seeks guidelines, through a letter dated May 26 addressed to Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana, as to the proper implementation of curfew hours in compliance to Proclamation No. 216 issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on May 23, 2017 placing the entire Mindanao under state of Martial Law after ISIS-inspired Maute Group made attacks in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Secretary Lorenzana, on the other hand, immediately responded via email dated May 30 and expressed his support to the provincial government’s preemptive measure against criminalities and terror acts which is to implement curfew hours from 10:00 PM to 5:00 PM in the whole province.  He also assured “full support of the AFP and PNP”on the said matter.

The governor said, the implementation of curfew hours is indeed timely especially that last week, a bomb exploded along Kidapawan-President Roxas National Highway in Sikitan, Kidapawan City and a firefight ensued in Barangay Salat, Pres. Roxas between the military and NPA rebels in the area.

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The said letter was adopted and endorsed by the RPOC along with the passing of resolutions supporting Proclamation No.216, and another resolution requesting for the release or issuance of the guidelines relative to the implementation of martial law the soonest possible time.

Meanwhile, Assistant Chief of Operations of the 6th ID Lt. Col. Ricky Bunayog, maintained that the implementation of Martial Law is to thwart terroristic attacks from lawless elements and that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear and should continue with their normal day to day activities as he assured that their rights will be respected at all times.

Cotabato Sangguninang Panlalawigan’s Committee Chair on Human Rights, Peace and Order and Public Safety Moh’d Kelie U. Antao, Al Haj and DILG Provincial Director Ali B. Abdullah, former Cotabato Vice Governor and member of the Cotabato PPOC Mr. Jose S. Tuburan, and former Cotabato Board Member Bai Farida Pendatun – now anactive peace advocate, were also present during the RPOC special meeting. //Laurifel Quinto-Gonzales, Photo by LQG//

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