Transcript of ambush interview with Sen. Joel Villanueva after the security briefing re Martial Law

Question: Necessary talaga ang Mindanao-wide declaration ng Martial law?

Senator Joel Villanueva: Kasi ang (sinasabi) nila malapit sa Maguindanao. Tapos yung terrain. So medyo mabigat yung situation kaya talagang hindi pwede na dun lang. For example, kung Marawi, if it's just Marawi, yung 20 days siguro is more than enough.

Q: Kung Marawi, 20 days lang?

SJV: Yeah. Iyon ang nabanggit.

Q: Yung consensus more on 20 days suspension lang?

SJV: No. Yun yung tinanong natin kanina if we talk about Marawi but of course mabigat yung problema. It's not just what is happening right now but the effects also. Remember nung nagsimula ang liit nung numero tapos originally pala there's about 666 diba tapos dumami na rin yung recruitment nila parang more than a thousand. So iyon ang mga mahahalagang information and yung iba I cannot divulge.

Q: So as a compromise what would be the ideal period of extension?

SJV: Well, again kanina sabi ko nga when it comes to extension parang majority of us, the way I look at it would support but the number of days or months especially medyo (mahaba) yung until December of this year. So pag - aralan nating mabuti. For example, in my case, I asked for some data that I need by Saturday. Economic effects for instance, some business groups in the tourism sector are already asking for lifting. But last night I also spoke with some business groups and they were saying it is totally different naman kung dito sa Metro Manila dineclare. They see no ill effects kung i - extend ito so iyon ang mga information na kailangan pa naming pag-aralan ng husto. And by Saturday, they promised to give us all these information na tinatanong namin at hinahanap.

Q: So, sir most senators are not yet convinced? May mga concerns pa dun sa end of the year?

SJV: Doon sa end of the year, I have to say I'm not yet convinced. Dun sa extension, mukhang mahalaga yung cooperation ng civilians and LGUs. Mahalaga yung naco-contain mo yung movements ng mga armed groups na mahalaga na naco-contain mo yung support groups nila. With Martial Law, impact yan eh at the same time, yung pag arrest, pag search. Rights ito eh. Iyon ang mga concerns talaga. Again, doon sa issue ng extension, kanina na-convince ako dun. We need to extend but yung period medyo questionable parin.

Q: So, sir, you're saying that most senators feel or think na five months is too long?

SJV: I cannot speak for my colleagues. I can only speak for myself. The way I look at it and my personal assessment.

Q: Five months is too long?

SJV: Tingin ko yung extension is parang okay pero yung until December of this year dun medyo tatagal ang diskusyon.

Q: Sir, 'yong submission by Saturday will cover...

SJV: A lot of things. Medyo mas masalimuot na strategies and plans, concrete plans. Mas detalyado and isinama na rin namin yung rehabilitation and restoration program. I actually volunteered 'yong ginawa natin noon sa TESDA na training production that while they're building their own homes you are training them. After the training program, they have their houses, plus they are certified.

Q: Do you get the sense that the Senate would rather stick to the sixty days...

SJV: I cannot make that decision alone so 'yon lang ang personal point of view ko. When it comes to extension I think mukhang madali and naintindihan ng lahat. Saksi kayo lahat how long we stayed there, listened and asked questions. But, again, doon sa until December of this year, medyo questionable. Ano ba yung economic effects nito? Ano ba 'yong sa domestic investments? Ano ba 'yong sa foreign investments? Ano ba 'yong sa tourism? So, kailangan ito lahat na pagaralan natin din.

Q: Sir, basically dun sa briefing without going into detail, were they trying to justify yung five months?

SJV: They did. They tried but I think maraming hinihingi yung ating mga kasama and hopefully by Satuday we will be able to get it. It doesn't necessarily mean that if we get all these facts and information, automatic yung hinihiling na extension until December this year.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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