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Davao City councilors seek lifting of martial law in Duterte hometown

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The City Council here has approved a resolution seeking the lifting of the Martial Law (ML) implementation in Davao City during the regular session Tuesday afternoon.

The resolution came after Mayor Sara Duterte announced during the 5th Davao Investment Conference (ICon) in June her intention to ask for martial law exemption for the city following her dialogue with ambassadors and officials of other countries who attended the event.

Though unsure of the approval of the lifting, Mayor Duterte wrote to Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), 10th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army (PA) and Police Regional Office in Region 11 (PRO-11), for a favorable endorsement of the lifting of martial law here.

Councilor Mabel Acosta, peace and public safety committee chairperson, filed the resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the city from the coverage of the island-wide martial law.

President Duterte declared martial law in the entire Island of Mindanao on May 23, 2017 following the siege of Marawi City by Islamic State-inspired terrorist groups.

During her speech in the regular session on Tuesday afternoon, Acosta maintained that while the city supported the declaration of the martial law for the past two years, she noted that it has impacted the city’s business and investment climate.

Acosta also noted that Mayor Duterte has already requested for a thorough assessment of the city’s security situation from the military and the police.

“The approval would solely depend to our President,” Acosta said.

Meanwhile, Col. Alexander Tagum, director of Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said whether martial law will be lifted or not, nothing will change on the level of security operations in the city.

“Our counter-terrorism actions must continue to be part of a comprehensive approach, including hampering terrorist movements and counter-terrorist propaganda,” Tagum said.

On the part of the Police Regional Office-11 (PRO-11), Major Jason Baria said Wednesday they fully support the lifting of martial law in the city.

Baria, PRO-11 spokesperson, said the city has been experiencing decreasing crime incidents and assured that it is “fully secured and safe from any form of terrorism”.

Capt. Roberto Escolan, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in this city, has also expressed support for the city government’s exclusion from martial law coverage.

“We will support whatever decision there is but we will not let our guards down. We are always on alert and perform the intensified security measures,” Escolan said.

Both the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines said that no martial law-related violations have been recorded in the city since it was implemented two years ago. (PNA)

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