The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urges communist rebels and the opposition “not to jump to their own conclusion and discredit the intent” of the recently issued Memorandum Order (MO) 32, saying that the order will not lead to the possible declaration of Martial Law.
"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 into conclusions, it's counter-productive," says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
He says that MO 32 is not a prelude to Martial Law as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself has already categorically stated that there are no plans to extend its implementation across the country.
According to Año, the opposition and communists are reading too much into the Order and are intentionally trying to instill fear or panic among the Filipinos "when in fact MO 32 is simply for the facilitation of the movement of troops from other parts of the country to Bicol, Samar, and Negros Island."
He says that MO 32 is simply for purposes of concentrating military and police presence in areas they are needed, as clearly stipulated in the Order, for the insurgency problem in these areas needs immediate government attention.
"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," he says.
"Ang natatakot lang sa MO 32 ay yung mga kalaban ng gobyerno na gustong pabagsakin ang ating demokrasya," he adds.
Section 1 of MO 32 states that "deployment of additional forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in the provinces of Samar, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and the Bicol Region and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country."
The DILG Chief also says that the MO will be key to facilitate the redeployment of troops from other areas to Bicol, Samar and Negros notwithstanding the appeal of local residents and officials for those units to remain in place.
"Sometimes there are appeals from LGU officials opposing the departure of troops from their communities to other areas. The MO will basically make it mandatory for the DILG and the Department of the National Defense to deploy forces to Bicol, for instance," he says.
Año also belies allegations that MO 32 will lead to more abuses as he assures the preservation of human rights in its implementation.
"There are safety nets in place to make it certain that no such abuses will take place," he says.
According to him, Sections 4 and 5 of the same MO reflects the government's decisive stance against human rights violation in the context of its implementation.
Section 4 states that the constitutional rights of every individual shall be respected and given due regard by the AFP and the PNP in the implementation of the MO, while Section 5 mentions that any personnel of the AFP and the PNP found violating any foregoing constitutional rights shall be held administratively, civilly or criminally liable.###