Duterte: Martial law 'not feasible'

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Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu (CNN Philippines, June 7) — President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday the “radical changes” he would carry out will not involve martial law.

Duterte mentioned the phrase during his arrival speech Tuesday after an official visit to South Korea, raising speculations martial law – which is in effect in Mindanao – may be declared nationwide.

He clarified this during an ambush interview after attending the inauguration of a new terminal at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Thursday.

“Martial law is not feasible. It won’t work. First of all, it’s going to be a divided nation... might think of something else (instead) of martial law," he said.

Though the President said martial law was effective in Mindanao, he said it won’t work on a larger scale because of the negative experiences people remember it for, specifically the abuses back then.

So what “radical changes” did the President refer to?

He said he would place agencies prone to corruption under his office soon.

Kung sabihin ko ngayon, masaktan yung secretary na matatamaan [If I mention it now, the affected secretaries would be hurt.]. So we have a Cabinet meeting coming up. I will also have my command conference. That would be the time I would be ready to declare, out of respeto sa kanila [respect to them],” he said when asked what offices these are.

In boosting his anti-crime efforts, Duterte said he preferred to work with the police and local officials whom he admits needs to be fixed as well.

Duterte declared a state of national emergency in September 2016 in the aftermath of the Davao City night market bombing and it’s still in effect. This was followed by the martial law declaration in Mindanao in response to the terrorist attack on Marawi City in May 2017. Martial rule will last until the end of 2018.