AMID a continuing decline in crime and terrorist related incidents in many parts of Mindanao over the nearly three years it has been under martial law, many police officials are still pushing for the continued imposition of martial rule in their regions save for some who want it lifted for economic reasons.
In Western Mindanao, Police Regional Office 9 director, Brigadier General Froilan F. Quidilla has recommended the extension of martial law in his area to ‘give us the absolute advantage in strengthening our campaign against terrorism and other lawless elements.’
The PRO9 director told the Journal Group that peace and order in the entire Zamboanga peninsula has greatly improved since the declaration of martial law and the momentum is on the Philippine government in ending the longstanding presence of lawless elements including the New People’s Army and other terror groups operating in the area.
Quidilla cited the marked reduction in seven ‘focus and complex crimes’ in the region since martial law was imposed. PRO9 statistics compared the figures from January to November 2018 to January to November this year.
Last year, there were 1,569 incidents of theft recorded across the region compared to the 1,040 cases this year or a 33.72 percent reduction; there were also 525 robbery incidents recorded in 2018 compared to the 457 this year or a 12.95 percent reduction; 374 rape cases compared to the 366 incidents this year or a 2.14 percent reduction.
When it comes to cases of physical injuries, there were 481 incidents recorded in 2018 compared to the 353 this year or a 26.61 percent reduction. On the other hand, there were 319 murder cases in 2018 compared to the 272 this year or a 14.73 percent reduction.
However, PRO10 director, Brig. Gen. Rolando B. Anduyan said he is recommending the lifting of martial law in the entire Northern Mindanao region for economic reasons. He said that during the past two years that Northern Mindanao has been under martial law, they have recorded a significant reduction in crime and terror-related incidents.
“With this in mind, I am recommending the lifting of martial law in Northern Mindanao in order to attract more investors, more businessmen who can take advantage of the generally peaceful situation in the region,” Anduyan told the Journal Group.
In Region 11 or Southern Mindanao, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has called on her father, President Rodrigo Duterte to already lift martial law in her city. PRO11 director, Brig. Gen. Filmore B. Escobal said they also have recorded a significant reduction in all seven focus crimes in the region specifically in Davao City.
In Region 12, police have noted a continuing decline in crime and terrorist-related incidents in the entire SOCCSKSARGEN region over the nearly three years it has been under martial law,PRO12 director, Brig. Gen. Alfred S. Corpus said.
The same reduction in major crimes and terror-related incidents has been recorded by the PRO13 in Caraga region headed by Brig. Gen. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr. However, the official said he is not inclined yet to recommend the martial law extension in the region citing the presence of NPA guerrillas who may take advantage of such a move.
At the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, the local police force has aired its wish to have a continuous martial law.
Records from the BARMM police regional office headed by Brig. Gen. Marni C. Marcos Jr. showed that crime volume in the region went down from 2016 to date when martial law was imposed.
In 2016, the region police recorded 3,860 crimes in the region followed by a mere 3,215 incidents in 2017. In 2018, the BARMM crime volume further went down to 2,569 incidents.
Officials however said that since BARMM residents have been accustomed to a military-like environment for decades now, they are already more matured compared to other people who resent the presence of heavily-armed soldiers and policemen patrolling their neighborhood to keep peace.
(To be concluded)