Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday backed the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, saying it was necessary because the country is “under threat.”
“There are a lot that we cannot say but… (martial law) is needed, is necessary,” Cayetano said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s program “Headstart.”
Cayetano, a former senator, believes that martial law was both “psychological and actual tools” to deal with the “very dangerous” crisis in the region.
Development and rehabilitation in Mindanao, he said, would be hampered unless the peace and order problem is addressed first.
“Yung Mindanao railway system, how would the Muslims in Mindanao feel if kumpletuhin mo yun ng wala sila di ba. So kailangan nating ayusin yun bago mag-develop ang Mindanao (We need to address those problems first before we develop Mindanao),” Cayetano, who became Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections, further said
Cayetano said getting rid of the security problem and the eventual rehabilitation of the areas affected would usually take time.
“The length is speculative. Ayaw naman ni Presidente sabihin na 60 days tapos hindi (pala) tapos. So parang it’s just so logical, bigyan muna kami hanggang end of the year (The President would not want just 60days and eventually it still lacks the time to finish it. It is just logical that we give it until the end of the year),” Cayetano added.
Cayetano noted that the country was “under threat,” citing the ongoing crisis in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire region of Mindanao last May 23.
“In fact, many of the ambassadors have been telling me, they’ve been worried for the last 10 years that people are coming in, not the fighters but yung nagra-radicalize, yung nagpa-plan are here and they pointed to areas.”
“Number two, the President wants na hindi makapasok yung mas radical pa dyan, yung nagtuturo gumawa ng bomba, yung nagsusuicide bombing (the President wants to make sure that those who are radical the ones teaching how to make bombs, those who commit suicide bombing),” he added.