State of emergency remains in some parts of Mindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A state of emergency remains in effect in some parts of Central Mindanao due to the proliferation of loose firearms in the region.
President Benigno Aquino III recently asked Maguindanao Governor Ismael “Toto” Mangudadatu if it’s time to lift the order, which was issued in 2009 in the aftermath of the Maguindanao massacre. The governor said no.
“There are lots of firearms in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City. I am telling this so that it will be included...in our pursuit for peace in Mindanao,” Mangudadatu said on May 25 during a peace summit in the town of Buluan.
“When the President asked for my opinion, I told him not to lift the order because there are several people with guns unregistered,” he added.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is one of various armed groups in Maguindanao.
“I wanted authorities to arrest and put behind bars civilians carrying guns without papers. I was recently in Cotabato and I saw a man with a weapon but he is not a member of any law enforcing groups,” he said.
Former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao following the massacre of 58 people, including journalists and supporters of Mangudadatu, on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan town. – Jeoffrey Maitem/Rappler.com