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by Almar E. Villanueva

In its Resolution No. 04-2017, the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) IX expressed support on President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of state of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

RPOC IX, which is composed of officials from the different national government agencies and local government units in the region, convened and discussed the said security concern on June 7, 2017 at the Garden Orchid Hotel, Zamboanga City in its second quarterly meeting.

The council pronounced in the said resolution that such declaration is necessary to prevent a possible spillover of the incident on other parts of the island considering the territories’ porous borders.

Moreover, RPOC IX takes cognizance that the declaration of Martial Law has also addressed security concerns in Zamboanga Peninsula.

It can be recalled that President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 placed the whole Mindanao under martial law following the clash between the government forces and the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City, the latter pledging allegiance to the international terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has caused military and civilian casualties and displaced several families therein.

President Duterte has openly expressed that the intention of the Martial Law declaration and the subsequent suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao is to quell terrorist activities, secure and defend the people, restore public order and solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco currently chairs RPOC IX, while Police Regional Director PCSupt. Billy B. Beltran sits as Vice-Chairperson, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government acts as the secretariat therein headed by its Regional Director Paisal O. Abutazil.