NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The Multi Sectoral Advisory Group for Martial Law Implementation in Eastern Mindanao met on June 30, 2017 at the Headquarters Eastern Mindanao Command Conference Room, Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan Davao City to assess the ongoing implementation of Martial Law.
Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) reported to the members of the adhoc oversight body that the EMC has been able to effectively address the possible spillover of the Marawi Crisis in its AOR . This was largely attributed to the tightened security measures that are being implemented.
As of June 30, 2017, 17,494 checkpoint operations have been conducted resulting to the apprehension of 31 violators, and confiscation of 15 firearms. Curfews were also implemented in 129 cities and municipalities in coordination with the LGUs. In addition, 1,742 security/vicinity patrols were likewise conducted to secure vital installations, critical infrastructures and places of convergence such as churches, malls and mosques. These were complemented by 54 maritime patrols in the coastal areas in the AOR. The Command also intensified intelligence coverage of threat groups and enhanced Intel fusion among agencies.
Likewise, Martial Law Special Action Groups were activated to effect arrest of persons included in the arrest order issued by the Martial Law Administrator. As of June 30, 2017, 16 terrorists and supporters were already arrested in Davao City, Cagayan De Oro City and General Santos City.
On the humanitarian aspect, 17,224 IDPS were accommodated in various cities and municipalities in Eastern Mindanao. Further, the command also facilitated the transport and delivery of relief assistance to various evacuation centers in Iligan City and other parts of Lanao Del Sur.
To sustain the prevailing peace and order situation in Eastern Mindanao, the Command reported the following innovations:
- Strengthening of maritime security and enhancement of the two border crossing stations in Eastern Mindanao; one in Cape San Agustin, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental and the other, in Balut Island, Sarangani, Davao Occidental. This is being done in coordination with other agencies such as BI, PCG, BOC, PNP, LGUs and other concerned entities.
- Organization of counter terrorist Task Forces in major cities similar to Task Force Davao in Davao City and Joint Task Force Gensan in General Santos City. Recently, the Command activated Task Force Oro in Cagayan De Oro and Task Force Tagum in Tagum City.
- Initiated various fora to counter violent extremism in coordination with the academe, and other Civil Society Organizations.
- Information and situation briefing with different organizations such as business, youth, etc.
During the MSAG discussion, the body unanimously recognized the adherence by the troops to the rule of law and the courtesy shown by soldiers manning checkpoints.
“While there were very minor comments about some of the troops conducting checkpoint which can be attributed to environmental factor, we found the implementation generally lawfull”, Mr Antonio Dela Cruz from Davao Chamber of Commerce stated.
It was further suggested that the guidelines crafted by the Commands Legal Team with inputs from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Ateneo De Davao Law School should be shared with the Philippine National Police.
Looking beyond Martial Law, the group discussed on how to prevent another Crisis similar to that of Marawi from happening in the future. The body came up with a recommendation for the Eastmincom to include in their peace advocacy, both internal and external audience, awareness on violent extremism. Members of the MSAG who have vast knowledge, studies, research and experience on the matter are willing to share their expertise in crafting a module.