MANILA – Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo on Wednesday lauded the Duterte administration for bringing Mindanao closer to a "gun-free society" with the implementation of martial law.
During the joint session of both chambers of Congress to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year, Dimaporo particularly commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines for intensifying its campaign against loose firearms.
It was earlier reported that an unprecedented number of loose firearms have been confiscated or surrendered to the government with the help of local government units, with 5,685 loose firearms recovered in Mindanao alone.
"With the declaration of martial law in the region of Mindanao, not only the AFP, but also the PNP (Philippine National Police), have been given the support needed from the national government so that we can get all of these loose firearms," Dimaporo said.
"We have inched the Mindanao region closer to a gun-free society," he added.
During the joint session, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the implementation of martial law has "really provided a good tool" for both the military and the police to do its mandate with the support of the local government units.
Año said local chief executives have been "more cooperative" in the government's campaign against rebel groups, while the feedback from the people is "very positive" because it helped maintain public order and safety in the area.
"The feedbacks from our people are very positive because now they can go around without fear of being subjected to violence by these lawless elements and rebellious group... They are more comfortable seeing that checkpoints are being implemented around Mindanao. In effect, we restricted the movement of the armed groups and at the same time, restored order especially in the most affected areas," Año said.
"If you are a good citizen you don't feel martial law at all, but if you are a lawless element then your movements are restricted, and the fear is actually on the part of the lawless elements,” he added.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City.
At the height of the six-month Marawi conflict in July last year, the House granted Duterte’s request for martial law extension until Dec. 31, 2017.
The House and the Senate granted anew the President’s request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.
If the proposal to extend martial law until the end of 2019 is approved, it will mark the third of such extension.