Duterte signs proclamation of state of national emergency
President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation declaring a “state of national emergency on account of lawless violence” before he left Monday for Laos to attend the ASEAN Summit and meet dialogue partner leaders.
With this proclamation, Duterte formalized his announcement of a state of lawlessness last Saturday following the deadly attack at a night market in Davao City where 14 died and 70 injured.
Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Christian Ablan said under this proclamation, Duterte commands the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to undertake measures permitted by the Constitution and laws to "suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao, and to prevent (it) from spreading elsewhere."
The national emergency would remain in force until lifted by the president, he said, adding it will be enforced with due regard to fundamental and civil political rights.
‘This is not martial law,” said Ablan in a radio interview. “There will be increased visibility of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to make sure people are safe.”
Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said in a separate radio interview police will remain the lead in securing people’s safety. Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, the NCR police director, said they will be getting augmentation from the military to watch key areas.
The Davao blast on Friday night was allegedly perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group. Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said they were also looking into "narco-terrorists."
In his departure speech at the Davao International Airport, Duterte said he will take the opportunity to discuss with his counterparts the important regional and international issues that affects peace, security, stability and the prosperity of the region.
"Recent events have shown that there are elements out there who seek to sow terror and wreak havoc in our society. We remain firm in our resolve, to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We remained committed to our vow and duty to do our utmost to protect our citizens. I ask every Filipino to do this, to do his and her part, for the sake of our country," he said.
"Terrorism and violent extremism is a global concern, and the Philippines will do its part as a member of the international community and work with our partners to address this issue," he said.
In a press conference before his departure, Duterte apparently became irked when asked if he was prepared to answer concerns about extrajudicial killings when he meets the ASEAN and dialogue partners, including leaders of Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
"I am not beholden to anybody...I am a President of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master, except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody," he said, specifically naming US President Barack Obama.
"As a matter of fact, we inherited this problem from the United States. Why? Because they invaded this country and made us their subjugated people. Everybody has a terrible record of extrajudicial killings. Why make an issue about fighting crime?," he stressed.
The US earlier raised concern over the reported extrajudicial killings in the country involving suspected drug personalities.
Duterte has declared war against illegal drugs and promised to address it during the first three to six months of his administration.
"Who is Obama to ask me that? I’ll tell him, who are you?," he said.
Duterte will return to Manila on Friday after his working visit to Indonesia. Celerina Monte/DMS