The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured the public yesterday that the controversial Memorandum Order (MO) 32 declaring a state of emergency in certain areas of the country to suppress lawless violence is not a prelude to martial law as voiced out by certain quarters.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said those who fear so are enemies of the State who will be affected by the deployment of additional government troops in their areas. He called on critics, particularly the left wing groups to stop making baseless assumptions.
“The communist terrorist groups and their front organizations are crying foul over this because they know for certain that they will be decimated by government forces once these troops are deployed,” Año said.
“Martial law will not be declared in the country. What MO 32 will do, on the other hand, is to focus military and police presence in those areas where insurgents are active. Let’s not jump to conclusions. It’s counter-productive,” he added.
According to Section 3 of MO 32, “no civil or political rights are suspended during the existence of a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence.”
The memorandum, which was signed 22 November by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, is a declaration of state of emergency due to lawless violence in the provinces of Samar, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and the Bicol region.
It tasked the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to suppress forces that dare harm the State.
The AFP said it will no longer issue statements regarding MO 32 pending its meeting with Defense and DILG officials.
“Suffice it to say that we support the intent of the MO as it envisions to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating in other parts of the country,” Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman said.