By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
SENATOR Francis N. Pangilinan on Monday questioned the imposition of martial law in Mindanao amid the series of bombing incidents in the region in the span of two months.
“This places under question the effectiveness of the martial law declaration in the entire Mindanao. What’s the point of such a declaration by government if it is incapable of preventing such bombings?” he said in a statement.
“Let’s not yield to the deviousness of the attackers. Let’s be vigilant and alert at all times,” he added.
Since July 31, four incidents of bombings occurred in four provinces in Mindanao. An improvised explosive device exploded in General Santos City on Sunday morning, wounding seven people.
Hours after the blast in General Santos City, another IED bomb was set off in Midsayap, North Cotabato. on July 31, a passenger van explosion in Lamitan, Basilan killed 11 people, three of whom were women and another, a child.
An IED blast was also reported last Aug. 28 while people were celebrating Hamungaya Festival in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat where two were killed.
For his part, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, in a tweet on Monday, doubted whether Congress’ cooperation with Malacanang was “worth it” on the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the granting of martial law extension.
“With a promise of peace in Mindanao, we burned candles to pass the Bangsamoro Organic Law. That, after we supported the extension of martial law. The recent bombings make us doubt if Congress’ cooperation with Malacanang is all worth it,” Mr. Lacson said.
“It’s their turn to prove us wrong,” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon cited the need to revisit the intelligence budget following the incidents, saying, “This should be an item for discussion on the committee for intelligence fund to find out behind closed doors how the budget is being utilized.”
President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in May 2017 after government forces clashed with the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City. Congress later granted the President’s request for an extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 2018.