MANILAThe Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called on communist rebels and the opposition not to jump to their own conclusion and discredit the intent of the recently issued Memorandum Order (MO) 32, saying the order will not lead to the possible declaration of martial law.
"Martial law will not be declared in the country. What MO 32 will do, on the other hand, is to focus military and police presence in those areas where insurgents are active. Let's not jump into conclusions, it's counter-productive," DILG Secretary Eduardo AAo said in a news release Tuesday.
AAo said MO 32 is not a prelude to martial law as President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself has already categorically stated that there are no plans to extend its implementation across the country.
The opposition and communists, he said, are reading too much into the order and are intentionally trying to instill fear or panic among Filipinos "when in fact MO 32 is simply for the facilitation of the movement of troops from other parts of the country to Bicol, Samar, and Negros Island."
He added that MO 32 is simply for purposes of concentrating military and police presence in areas where they are needed, as clearly stipulated in the Order, because their insurgency problem needs immediate government attention.
"The communist terrorist groups and their front organizations are crying foul over this because they know for certain that they will be decimated by government forces once these troops are deployed," he said.
"Ang natatakot lang sa MO 32 ay yung mga kalaban ng gobyerno na gustong pabagsakin ang ating demokrasya (Those enemies of the government who want to overthrow our democracy are the ones afraid of MO 32)," he added.
Section 1 of MO 32 states the "deployment of additional forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in the provinces of Samar, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and the Bicol Region and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country."
The DILG chief also said the MO will be key to facilitating the redeployment of troops from other areas to Bicol, Samar and Negros, notwithstanding the appeal of local residents and officials for those units to remain in place.
"Sometimes there are appeals from LGU (local government unit) officials opposing the departure of troops from their communities to other areas. The MO will basically make it mandatory for the DILG and the Department of the National Defense to deploy forces to Bicol, for instance," he said.
AAo also belied allegations that MO 32 will lead to more abuses, assuring the preservation of human rights in its implementation.
"There are safety nets in place to make it certain that no such abuses will take place," he said, citing Sections 4 and 5 of the same MO reflect the government's decisive stance against human rights violation in the context of its implementation.
Section 4 states that the constitutional rights of every individual shall be respected and given due regard by the AFP and the PNP in the implementation of the MO, while Section 5 mentions that any personnel of the AFP and the PNP found violating any foregoing constitutional rights shall be held administratively, civilly or criminally liable. (DILG PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency