NEDA hopes military to maintain high moral ground during martial law extension
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) underscored on Thursday the importance of maintaining "high moral ground" among government forces during the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao to ensure the proclamation would not create any negative effect on the economy.
In a year-end briefing at NEDA headquarters in Pasig City, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said so far the martial law declaration in southern Philippines has no impact on inflation, labor force and investments in southern Philippines.
"I think it has to do with the way the martial law was implemented this time versus what we know from way before that there's really a difference in characteristic," she said.
Martial law, imposed by late President Ferdinand Marcos for about a decade since September 1972, was marred with human rights violations, which discouraged investors.
Edillon even noted that the Philippines received a credit rating upgrade from Fitch Ratings recently.
"That's really because it's like a different characteristic of martial law that we're having now. And we're hoping (this) will be maintained all throughout this extension. It's really important that government and military maintain high moral ground even if martial law is extended in Mindanao," she stressed.
Edillon said this was the same information they shared recently with the Senate before Congress approved the extension of martial law on Wednesday for one year until Dec. 31, 2018.
She noted there was even a "slight decline" in inflation in Mindanao compred to Luzon and Visayas from June to November when martial law was already declared compared to January to May.
In case of labor market, she said the profile was also the same with Luzon and Visayas, she said. However, she admitted that Marawi City, the main battle area, was not included in the latest October Labor Force Survey as there were lots of displaced people.
Duterte declared martial law on May 23 in Mindanao shortly after the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists attacked Marawi.
Edillon said there was also a "slight uptick" in investments in Mindanao in the second period, "mainly because of Davao (City)," where President Rodrigo Duterte hails.
Asked for the actual figures of the economic indicators that she mentioned, Edillon refused to provide the media, saying it should be requested to the Senate. Celerina Monte/DMS