MANILAThe recently-issued Memorandum Order (MO) 32 is only in effect in four regions, where New People's Army (NPA) forces are still conducting atrocities against civilians.
This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a radio interview Monday, where he also dismissed claims that the order will be the basis or prelude for declaring martial law nationwide, adding that President Rodrigo Duterte publicly stated that he will never do so.
Lorenzana said the said order only covers Samar (Region 8), Negros Oriental (Region 7), Negros Occidental (Region 6), and the Bicol provinces (Region 5) as these areas are still NPA-infested.
"(Eto Memorandum) 32 ito yung pinupuntirya natin yung mga lugar na hanggang ngayon namamayagpag pa yung komunistang terorista dyan sa (This Memorandum Order 32 is focused on areas where communist terrorists thrive, specifically in) Bicol, Samar and tsakaNegros (Oriental and Occidental). Panay ang sunog ng mga kagamitan ng mga construction at panay pangingikil nila sa businessmen (They continue to burn construction equipment and extort money from businessmen)," he added.
The order will also ensure the conduct of fair and honest elections in these areas, Lorenzana stressed.
"Kasi nung nakaraang eleksyon marami tayong narinig na mga sumbong ng mga tao dun na itong NPA ay pinakikialaman din eleksyon. Parang hindi nagkaroon ng patas na labanan dahil nga yung kampanya palang ng mga tao, kandidato eh kinokontrol nila mga pagpasok sa mga lugar kung di sila magbayad at saka marami silang sinuportahan na mga kandidato din. So, ibig sabihin din, election was not fair. 'Yung hindi level 'yung playing fields nung last time so ito paraan natin para ma-ensure na ang campaign hanggang sa eleksyon ay tahimik, matiwasay at pantay ang labanan (We received complaints that the NPA is interfering with the elections in these areas. It seemed that the competition is not fair because the NPA controlled the election campaign. They control the entry of candidates in these areas, especially if these candidates do not pay them. They also support some candidates. It only means election is not fair. The playing field is not fair during the last time. This memorandum order wants to ensure that there will be peaceful and fair campaign period and elections)," the DND chief emphasized.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Memorandum Order No. 32 on Nov. 22 amid "sporadic acts of violence allegedly committed by lawless groups particularly in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental, and Bicol Region.
There is a need to reinforce the directive of the President in order to prevent further loss of innocent lives and destruction of property and bring the whole country back to a state of complete normalcy as quick as possible, he said in the memorandum order. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency