PNP chief open to Mindanao martial law extension

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is open to the possibility of extending martial law in Mindanao following the deadly explosion in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

Albayalde made the comment in reaction to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea’s statement that the martial law extension may be an “option” in the wake of the Sultan Kudarat blast that left at least two people dead and over 30 injured.

“Kung ako wala naman kasing masamang idinudulot ang martial law doon. I think, it’s part of peace and security doon sa area. And in fact, nakakabuti siguro doon sa economic development doon sa lugar na yun. Then why not, (For me, nothing bad happened with the imposition of martial law there. I think, it’s part of peace and security in the area. And in fact, it has probably improved the economic development of the area. Then why not?),” Albayalde told reporters after attending a budget hearing at the House of Representatives.

When asked if the imposition of martial law is ineffective given such incident occurred, Albayalde said the lack of military rule might even worsen the situation.

“Hindi naman siguro (I don’t think it’s [ineffective]). Probably baka kung walang martial law baka mas marami pa yan (maybe there would be more [attacks] without martial law),” Albayalde said.

Albayalde said security forces are on full alert status amid the prevailing martial law in the southern region.

“Because of the incident, whether it’s martial law or not, we made our forces there on full alert status already,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde, during the budget briefing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, cited the need to improve intelligence gathering capability to prevent such “incidents from happening.” He left the hearing early to catch his flight to Sultan Kudarat.

Reports showed that the blast happened around 8:34 p.m. Tuesday, when an improvised explosive device went off in front of J and H Marketing along the national highway in Barangay Kalawag 3, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City. It was extended by Congress at the President’s request and will end on Dec. 31, 2018.