President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, Dec. 13, thanked the House of Representatives for heeding his request to extend martial law for another year in Mindanao.
In his speech at the ceremonial demilitarization of seized weapons during the Marawi conflict at the Philippine Army headquarters here, the President sent his gratitude to Congress “for understanding the plight of the Filipino.”
The President admitted that without martial law, it would be impossible for the government to curb rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao. “Alam mo mahirapan talaga ako ‘pag walang martial law sa Mindanao. I will make it public and maybe telegraph also to the other side,” Duterte said.
“You know because there are processes to follow, procedures to honor. Kaya itong martial law, without the martial powers, the ancillary powers attached to the implementors, the implementing agency, mahihirapan tayo,” he said.
The Congress earlier today voted in favor of the extension of martial law in Mindanao with a resounding 240-27 decision with no abstention vote.
Meanwhile, President Duterte said the demilitarized firearms shall symbolize the government’s resolve to defend its people against individuals who sow fear through violence and destruction.
The demilitarized firearms were recovered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the height of the five-month-long firefight against ISIS-inspired Maute group.
“It is through this that we will honor our heroes and those who lost their lives defending our way of life,” he added.
According to the AFP, the firearms will be burned and its metal residues and scrap will be kept for final disposal following the AFP’s policies and directives.
During the event, the Chief Executive also conferred Order of Lapu Lapu medals to soldiers who were wounded in various actions all over the country.
Of this number, 75 were awarded with the Kampilan Medal and 30 others with the Kamagi Medal. Duterte then said that he already ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to provide and build houses for soldiers who are still undergoing therapy.
The Chief Executive also assured good future for the soldiers’ children, saying that if any of them want to study in the country’s top schools, then he will finance it.
“As a matter of fact, now, kung sinong gustong mag-aral ng UP, La Salle, Ateneo, San Beda, tell me. Ako na ang magbayad sa tuition ninyo,” Duterte promised.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 17, the Order of Lapu Lapu is given to government officials and personnel and private individuals who have shown invaluable service to the President’s campaign or advocacy.
“To those who were wounded in action and are here with us today, we confer upon you the Order of Lapu-Lapu as a recognition of your extraordinary and exceptional service to the nation,” Duterte said.
“May our soldiers continue to inspire our people, especially those from Marawi, to rise above all challenges as we rebuild from the ruins of war and look forward to a brighter future,” he added. (PND)