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Reps. Rolando Uy and Maximo Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro, and Pedro Unabia of Misamis Oriental voted in favor of extending martial law in Mindanao until December 2018. Another Misamis Oriental representative, Juliette Uy, was absent during the joint session of Congress on Wednesday but in July, she voted for the first extension of martial law. (file photos: nitz arancon)

Mixed reactions greet extension

By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
Correspondents

MIXED reactions greeted Congress’ vote to approve the one-year extension of martial law.

Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano said the capitol would “abide and follow.”

“It’s the prerogative of the President and both houses [of Congress],” said Emano of President Duterte’s request and Congress’ decision to give the go-ahead to the Mindanao martial law extension.

He said it would continue to boost security measures in Misamis Oriental and elswhere in Mindanao, and speed up the rebuilding efforts in Marawi City.

“The government has proven its sincerity in implementing martial law without abuses since its declaration,” said Emano, adding that the government is on the “right track.”

“I feel safe… because of the checkpoints, etc.,” he said. “I trust the President… There might be things he saw in Mindanao that we did not (see) as of the moment.”

Emano however said  officials in Misamis Oriental would be vigilant against possible abuses.

Mayor Oscar Moreno, a former congressman like Emano, was silent. This paper repeatedly asked for his comment through city hall spokesperson Maricel Rivera but there was no reply.

Former vice mayor Antonio Soriano said  the extension of martial law was “baseless and unconstitutional.”

“Based on the Constitution, there should be an actual rebellion or actual war against the government. Wala nama’y giyera,” said Soriano, a lawyer by profession.

He pointed out that when martial law was declared in May 23, the Maute group aided by foreign fighters laid siege to Marawi.

The bases for the one-year extension are peace and order problems, he said.

Soriano said the attacks carried out by the New People’s Army and other armed groups and the drug problem, among others, are not valid grounds.

Despite the serious legal questions, he said, the Supreme Court justices are facing a dilemma because Congress exercises the power of the purse.

“Maglisod ang Supreme Court because the result of the voting was overwhelming. Naa naman kana, ato na lamang supportahan kay demokrasya man kita,” he said.

Soriano also pointed out that many citizens support the move of President Duterte.

He said the martial law extension would continue to bring “abnormality” in Mindanao, and continue to hurt the business and toiurism sectors.

“Sa pagka-matuod naa pa man gihapon kita’y demokrasya but since the Senate and the House voted for it, then wala na pud kita’y mahimo,” Soriano said.

Reuben Vegafria, Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for commerce and trade, said the city’s premier business group has no official position yet on the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Vegafria however opined that citizens and many businessmen here have been feeling more safe since the declaration of martial law in May.

“Wala may nag-backout nga mga investor sa Cagayan de Oro… Ang taga-Manila ra man ang nagsaba-saba ana,” Vegafria said.

He however admitted that the local tourism tourism industry was affected but it slowly regained strength because there were no abuses here.

Like the Oro Chamber, the local Roman Catholic archdiocese has yet to make its position known on the one-year extension of martial law, said Msgr. Perseus Cabunoc, vicar general of the archdiocese.

Cabunoc said Archbishop Antonio Ledesma has yet to go public with his stand.

Neither can the general view of archdiocese be known at this time “kay nagkalain-lain ang ilang mga huna-huna  ug baroganan sa mga pari ug mga obispo niining issue,” Cabunoc said.

But unlike the Roman Catholic archdiocese, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente here frowned over the martial law extension even as it called on Duterte to lift it.

IFI Bishop Felixberto Calang said there was no more reason for martial law to continue because the Marawi siege has ended.

Mindanao’s peace and order problems cannot be solved by martial law, he said.

Calang said, “Nabalaka kita nga kining extension  sa martial law makapadugang pa hino-on kini sa hindrances sa resumption sa peace talk.”

He added: “Para man kaha gyud kini sa mga kabus. Then kon para sa  mga kabus si President Duterte, maminaw pud unta siya sa mga kabus kay ang martial law dili man ma-oy solution sa  pagsulbad sa mga  kasamok kon dili ang pag-address man sa basic services nga gikinahanglan sa mga kabus.”

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