- House Speaker said he is personally in favor extending martial law in Mindanao to 2022
- He said this would enable president to end island’s conflicts and fast-track its development
- He also non-Mindanaoans shouldn’t meddle, and told public not to fear martial law
MANILA, Philippines – For House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, martial rule in Mindanao should last until 2022 after President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends.
According to Alvarez who claimed it is just his personal opinion, he would favor placing Mindanao under martial law for the next five years if it means Duterte can solve the island’s long-running conflicts and fast-track its growth and development.
“This is just my personal view, okay? This is not the position of Congress. I have to make it clear. I would like to extend this up to the end of the term of the President. My grounds: To really ensure the end of this conflict in Mindanao, and to fast-track the infrastructure projects. This is for our interest, isn’t it?” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.
Alvarez, a staunch ally of the president in Congress, also said people from Luzon and Visayas should respect the decision of the Mindanaoans if the latter want martial law.
“They have to respect the will of the Mindanaoans. If that’s what we wanted why should [people outside Mindanao] meddle? We want this region develop,” he said.
He also assured the public they have nothing to worry about since today’s martial rule is nothing like the one imposed during the regime of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
“Now, only the criminals and terrorists are afraid. Law-abiding citizens do not fear the military,” he said.
Alvarez has regularly iterated his support for martial law in Mindanao, even going so far as to warn the Supreme Court of a constitutional crisis if the high tribunal orders Congress to convene and discuss the issue.