By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras
THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the implementation of martial law in Mindanao has led to growth and development.
“Martial law has led to increased tourist and economic activity in Mindanao, especially in areas previously thought of as inaccessible to visitors from Luzon and Visayas. The improved security situation is so inviting that it is no longer unusual to find tourists exploring Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Davao, Zamboanga City, or island hopping in Jolo, Sulu,” said AFP Chief-of-Staff Carlito G. Galvez Jr. in a press conference on Friday, Nov. 10.
He added, “The development created more jobs and empowered residents to become active players in the peace and security of their communities.”
Mr. Galvez also said, “The economic performance of the ARMM also increased from 4.3 to 7.3 GDP. In particular, Zamboanga which ranked 102nd in 2017 in terms of economic standing jumped to the rank of 41 in 2018.”
The AFP chief further pointed out, “(The) disadvantage is we cannot sustain (the) gains na nakuha natin ngayon (that we have achieved), the pressure, the constriction, the containment.”
“Kasi (Because) we wanted a complete solution of the problem, the terrorism still lurks in the area….We want the victory (to) be completed and the result should be irreversible,” Mr. Galvez said.
Following the Marawi siege and standoff last year, President Rodrigo R. Duterte cited the terror threat in Mindanao as well as the New People’s Army as reasons for seeking the extension of martial law until December 31, 2018.
The AFP chief also said he will discuss with the Philippine National Police this month the recommendation that will help the President decide whether to extend martial law anew.
“Sa ngayon (For now)….magmi-meet pa kami ng PNP (we will meet with the PNP) on that matter. Sa ngayon kinukuha pa lang namin yung data (we are just gathering data for now)[like] what are the sentiments of the different stakeholders,” Mr. Galvez said.