State of emergency in Maguindanao, 2 areas stays unless revoked, AFP says

December 29, 2009 1:02 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 29 — The state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City will remain until lifted by the national headquarters, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command said Tuesday.

Maj. Randolp Cabangbang, Eastmincom spokesperson, said the state of emergency, declared by Malacanang on Nov. 25 following the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre that left 57 people dead, will remain enforced in three areas.

The Military Rule, declared on December 5 and lifted one week later, was meant to restore normalcy.

"Normalcy was restored following the Martial Law implementation but there is still a need to maintain peace with the state of emergency," he said in a phone interview.

Government forces have so far recovered 868 assorted firearms but more than that number remain in the hands of Civilian Volunteer Organization members which became private armies of Andal Ampatuan Sr.

More than 200 CVOs have been arrested and surrendered while the police and military are still searching for others who refused to yield and have become wanted by law, Cabangbang said.

He said the police is now the lead law enforcement agency with the military providing the needed support.

The entire 601st Infantry Brigade have been moved to Lanao del Norte under the 1st Infantry Division while 101st Infantry Brigade was transferred to Maguidanao and part of Sultan Kudarat province.

During the Martial Law implementation, no reported violation of human rights were committed by the military against civilians while arrests and seizures were implemented with transparency and the media persons were present all throughout the military rule.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has lauded the Martial Law implementors, led by its supervisor Eastmincom chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer. (PNA)

DCT/NYP/EOF

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