The implementation of martial law in Mindanao—effective until December—has greatly lessened criminality in the area, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday during a cozy interview, beamed nationwide, with Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo.
“It has lessened criminality...And the only way to do that is to conduct a survey amongst the people of Mindanao,” said the President, adding the effectivity of martial law in Mindanao could be defended by asking the people in the South what they received with the emergency.
“The political leaders, they can call them. The stations have contacts with them. Maybe they can conduct an interview. Or they can always ask their network there to do the survey. Let’s see,” said Duterte during the interview conducted in Malacañang.
Duterte also said in the wide-ranging interview he had no problem living in a war zone as the people could survive in a controlled condition, adding he needed to implement it as suggested by the military.
“To me, it’s nothing. Now, it was the military’s [order] because of the uprising in Marawi... But by and large, it could give them the confidence of going around with a gun,” said Duterte.
“You know my army does not have weapons, they don’t have sidearms. So, they go out naked. And I did not like it because my soldiers are being killed like dogs. So, I said, this cannot go on. If you have to go out, just watch for the Sparrow at the back but use it to kill, if you have to kill them,” he added.
According to Duterte, he was the one who ordered the installation of police/military checkpoints.
He added: “Those who are suspected of transporting illegal drugs, traveling to escape, or are in the wanted list of the government, they have to go down. And that is my order and I take full responsibility of (sic) it,” Duterte stressed.
“Otherwise, this martial law would not be feared.”
Palace officials like Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque had previously said the administration thought the talks to extend martial law in Mindanao were still premature, following the deadly bombing attacks in the region.