DAGUPAN CITY - The decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao in the evening of May 23 has drawn mixed reactions from Pangasinenses. Majority, however, favor the move.
Provincial Director Agnes De Leon of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the declaration is good to stop the conflict once and for all.
”Kawawa ang mga sibilyan dahil sila ang naiipit. Tama lang mai-declare dahil kung walang katahimikan, walang development,” De Leon told the Philippine Information Agency.
Police Chief Insp. Norman Florentino, chief of the Public Information office branch of the Pangasinan Provincial Police Office, said the declaration is needed.”Hindi naman magde-declare ng martial law kung hindi na-meet ang guidelines. Marami nang nangyari sa Mindanao. Kailangan na yan. Kailan pa natin lilinisin ang Mindanao kundi ngayon. Maraming magiginhawaan na kababayan natin,” Florentino said.
National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) -Pangasinan Chief Enrique Delos Santos said he is not afraid of martial law, for it is in the constitution. “The declaration of such is one of the powers vested to the President of our nation. Its a judgement call on his part and I am not in a position to question his judgement. Let us support our president.”
Insp. Romie Tungpalan, fire marshall of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Dagupan City said he is in full support of the declaration as an implementor of peace and order. " Marawi is not a Muslim city, it is a terrorist-invaded city. Real Muslims are not terrorists. The peaceful Mindanao was ruined by them. We condemn their acts."
Dagupan City Librarian Rufina Meneses said the declaration of martial law is favorable "para matakot na din ang mga gumagawa ng gulo doon sa Mindanao."
Media people also voiced their take on the declaration. Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas-Pangasinan Chapter Chairman Mark Espinosa said the declaration is okey because of the imminent threat to the state and the countrymen. “Sumunod naman ang pangulo sa nakasaad sa Constitution, so walang violation dahil ang pangunahing gampanin ng Pangulo ay protektahan ang bansa at mamamayan.”
Top radio commentator Orly Navarro said he is in favor of the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao to have peace and order in that area and arrest criminalities. "Umaabuso na ang mga yan kaya pabor ako sa martial law.”
Ermin Garcia, publisher of community paper Sunday Punch believes that martial law is necessary. He said Mindanao has been the hotbed of armed conflicts for generation involving the separatist group and has become the haven for armed bandits and terrorists.Most major military and police operations against the groups in the past have failed, yet these cost lives of many soldiers, he added. “All of these have long been taken for granted by our past governments because it was more convenient for them not to acknowledge these as threats to national security.”
The Pangasinan Association of Government Information Officers (PAGIO) also gave their piece of mind. PAGIO President Oscar Navata of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said Mindanao has a severe case of peace and order. "The ISIS and Abu Sayaff are national security threats. They pose clear and present danger that is why martial law in selected areas is justified
Vice-chair Bella Cerdan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also agreed saying "It is just proper for the President to declare martial law as it is the best way to battle against the Maute/ISIS group. We are one in praying for the best and safety of those affected.”
The youth sector gave varied reactions. Kevin Ibasco of Tayug National High School favored the declaration and called the attention of his fellow youth to take stand against terrorism while Julius Mararac of the Pangasinan State University in Pangasinan town expressed fear saying he is scared since the implementation of Martial Law means there is big threat and uncontrollable act of Maute group there.
Meanwhile, Press Relations Officer Kristine Santiago of mall giant SM-Rosales said: "Maraming civilians at inosente ang manganganib pero I have to put my trust in the President. Let just hope and pray na this declaration will end the war in Mindanao,” she said. (VHS/EMS/PIA-Pangasinan)