DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Saturday, September 3, a state of lawlessness following the explosion past 10:00 pm Friday night, September 2 at Roxas Street, a known place for Davao’s night market.
“I declare state of lawlessness nationwide effective today,” Duterte told reporters when he visited the explosion site around 4:00 am Saturday, September 3.
Duterte, however, clarified that such declaration would not be similar to Martial Law. “It’s not martial law,” he explained, but pointed out that there will be more movements by both the military and the police to counter terrorism.
He further explained that soldiers and police activities will be based in the “orchestration of the national government.”
“I may invite uniformed personnel to run the country according to my specifications.”
“Any punitive action that will be taken by the security forces will be in a bid to stop terrorism,” Duterte stressed.
He said that starting Saturday, Davao City will be locked down and checkpoints will be added to heighten the security.
“There will be major checkpoints, curfew,” Duterte added.
“This is not the first time Davao has been sacrificed in the altar of violence.”
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the president’s declaration of a state of lawlessness is rooted in Article VII Section 18 of the Constitution which reads:”Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”
Abella said the declaration is limited such that he can only call out the armed forces to suppress the lawless violence.
“It is a different case from the existence of invasion or rebellion. Only if there is invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it, can he suspend the writ of habeas corpus or declare martial law,” he said.
The blast has claimed at least 13 lives and injured 73. Department of Health Assistant Secretary Dr. Abdullah Dumama, Jr. said 55 were admitted, 18 were outpatient and three died in the hospital. Officials have previously reported that five men and five women died on the spot after the blast.
Ateneo de Davao suspends classes
Jesuit university Ateneo de Davao has issued a suspension of classes for Saturday, September 3 following the Davao blast incident.
“With the recent security developments in Davao City, the University campuses are on heightened security alert. After consultations with the unit heads and security officers, the Ateneo de Davao University will have no classes at all levels tomorrow, 3 September 2016.
The campus and all offices will be closed, except those offices that are tasked for campus maintenance, safety and security,” read a dispositive portion of the university memo.
The memo was signed by Jeremy Eliab, the AdDU’s assistant to the president.
Moro group condemns Davao blast
Meanwhile, Moro group Suara Bangsamoro has condemned in the strongest terms the bombing in Davao City.
“We sympathize with the victim’s families and hope that a thorough investigation will be conducted to uncover the real culprits and not use Moro civilians as the usual suspects. Our fear is based in the previous Sasa bombings in Davao in 2003 that immediately blamed the MILF and led to crackdown on Muslims in Davao. Investigations led to AFP’s involvement,” the group said in a statement on Saturday, September 3.(With a report from Maria Patricia C. Borromeo/davaotoday.com)