The Present Situation and Events in Mindanao

From the siege in Marawi to the declaration of Martial Law, as well as docking of Naval ships in Sasa Wharf Davao City for the incoming Navy anniversary, the island of Mindanao becomes the center of the topic that regardless if a person is in Cagayan de Oro or Davao, or in Zamboanga City and Iligan City as well as the rest of the country, such series of activities are deemed to be watched closely without compromise.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This defense community are with the armed forces in regards to its efforts of combating terrorists elements that are presently plaguing and wreaking havoc in this country especially in the island of Mindanao. In line with this matter, observation to the Operational Security Protocols are observed at its highest manner wherein details are not to be divulged for public consumption so as not to compromise any mission and operations therein. Moreover, what the readers about to read are news already in existence across the internet with verifications given as well as some viewpoint from the perspective of a Mindanaoan. Henceforth, please be guided by this note as proceeding in this article. Thank you.

Citizens in Davao are taking selfies in the light of Martial Law as photos
are taken before a Simba Armored Personnel Carrier of Task Force Davao.
The whole island of Mindanao is now under Martial Law as per Proclamation 216 in the light of the events surrounding the City of Marawi where the clash between the Philippine Government through the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Islamic State-affiliated Maute Group is still on-going. As for the rest of Mindanao, red alerts in different bases are in place, stringent checkpoints are in effect and No ID, No Entry policies are implemented. Meanwhile, several key Navy vessels are in Davao for anticipation of the Philippine Navy anniversary that will take place on May 31 in which it will feature new vessels like the BRP Davao del Sur, the MPAC Mk. 3s, among others. These situations that happen in Mindanao right now are deemed to give proper information as well as the understanding that it coincides as per general situation on the ground.

Obtained from ABS-CBN.
As per news article in which the photo was gathered upon, 31 terrorists were killed in action where as per sources, it includes foreign ones with Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean as their nationality while there are 13 casualties on the Government troops where the overall death toll throughout this siege rises to 44 as per posting based from various outlets.

In the advent of the siege, the Government forces started its security forces last Tuesday where the main purpose of this operation is to neutralize Hapilon where there are reports that several Abu Sayyaf fighters were integrated to the Maute Group. It was there then that the terrorist group occupy Marawi City where burning of several vital infrastructures, hostaging several Christian inhabitants, obtaining vehicles and having the banner of ISIS flying over the City. That prompts the military to have immediate action with regards to the matter wherein Operational Security Protocols are highly encouraged to observed in a sense that any photos or videos showing the location of troops on the ground shall not be posted especially by several users on social media websites. Read related article on OPSEC.

To take note, the Maute Group was the same group who occupy a Lanao del Sur Town of Butig where it was then captured later by Government Forces as well as having FA-50s doing its first surgical strike in the area, making the Philippines one of the users who have used the aircraft in real action where in it shows result that even Hapilon was being severely injured in the strike. As per situation, the occupation of Marawi started in the occupation of Amai Pakpak Medical Center where it was later freed upon where no reports with regards to its staff and patients hurted by these terrorists. The City Jail also was burned out as well as other vital institutions in the area. Residents are prompted to evacuate out of the City, and checkpoints in and out of the City are controlled by both sides.

The situation at that time comes from bad to worse where most of the City was occupied until later on it was regained by Government forces. Such action made by these terrorists prompted the President to put the whole of Mindanao under Martial Law in which it will be discussed in depth below with experiences as per Mindanaoan perspective. In that sense, it may only show that the overall situation of Mindanao, specifically in Marawi is something that needs to be resolved considering that in the world today, terrorist extremism takes a toll to the people's lives that wreaking havoc is somewhat a problem that needs to end once and for all. Take this Manchester Concert Bombing as an example of full-blown acts of terrorism in action.

It is deemed best for the military to do its job throughout this period of time without any compromise. As per the civilians that are actually on the ground, it is at best to observe OPSEC or Operational Security Protocols in a sense that it shall not compromise the overall mission of the Armed Forces in the area. In these sense of cooperation comes the hope that the overall security operation will have good results that in the end, Marawi City will be freed from terrorist elements for its residents to settle down and recover once again.


Above: A news clip from Moscow-based Outlet Russia Today regarding the Philippine Martial Law.

As per posting, long lines of vehicles are now commonplace in Mindanao especially now in Zamboanga City as stringent inspection of vehicles as well as unloading passengers are a necessity as No ID, No Entry is in effect in line with Martial Law guidelines. Hence, anybody in both West and East Coast of Zamboanga shall submit to this kind of inspection so as it is for the guaranteed safety of each and everyone. Meanwhile, Davao City was put into lockdown as security tightens further so as not to repeat last year's bombing that had rocked the City. The same thing goes in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City, Isabela, Basilan and other cities in Mindanao.

As per hands on experience, the first days of martial law until yesterday isn't that felt yet considering that the procedures at that time are deemed normal. It was not until at present where things are started to get tightened where movements are being checked up for safety. In such a manner, this is somewhat a good thing to observe as as to understand that the said declaration like martial law and its purpose is to preserve the safety of the citizens in the light of rebellion or invasion so as in the case of Marawi. But one may come up in this kind of question: Is the declaration justified enough to satisfy the needs? The next paragraph will provide an answer here.

The grounds of the declaration can be found in Proclamation no. 216 posted in Official Gazette where in this the same paper the President Duterte presented before the congress prior to the 48-hour period deadline as prescribed by the constitution that a report about Martial Law shall be presented. It was clearly stated as per Sec. 18 Art VII of the Constitution that for sixty days, the President of the Republic, when the public safety requires it, in a case of rebellion or invasion, can declare Martial Law in effect as well as suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus in which a terrorist or a person suspected can be arrested without any warrant.

Given the circumstances, it has been said that the martial law in the whole of Mindanao is deemed seen as a necessary thing to do considering that it will contain terrorist groups in selective areas such as Marawi City at present and to ensure that there will be no spillover of violence all across the Mindanao, just as what Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles says it. Being a hotspot of numerous rebellion in connection with Moro insurgents and numerous radicals, Mindanao being under martial law may help to contain, if not to end the violence that Mindanaoans wanted to achieve that in the end, peace can be achieved that will pave the way to the progress that may improve the lives of its inhabitants.

To take note, there are checks and balances as per the declaration of Martial Law under the 1987 constitution. That alone gives a different perspective from those perceived under the 1972 declaration of Martial Law under Marcos where the congress get abolished unlike today that the President requires to report in 48 hours about that matter. Moreover, the said constitution safeguards the lives of the citizens where courts are still functional, civilian offices are still functioning, and any citizen can question the scope of the declaration before the Supreme Court. Not also to mention the congress' decision to extend or to cut short of the declaration aside from limiting it within sixty (60) days.

In this case, a law-abiding citizen have nothing to worry about as the Armed Forces of the Philippines together with the Philippine National Police are doing their jobs to protect and safeguard the lives of each and every Mindanaoans in a sense that these citizens will be put out of harm's way from lawless elements that are presently wreaking havoc like the Maute Group and other groups who are going along with it. It is to ensure that the threat in due time will be eliminated as well as other possible ones immediately resolved where flow of people and things are to be carefully assessed upon as well as the verification on any information until things got any better. 

As a citizen of this country, a best thing for a person to do is to hope and pray that this situation will over. Not only that, action is also needed where cooperating with authorities as well as observing operational security protocols are a thing where there will be no divulging of sensitive people in the public. Also to mention that in any sighting of various suspected activities in any areas given shall be reported to the authorities for verification and supplemental action just like in Bohol when Abu Sayyaf group attacked months ago. In this manner, might as well guaranteed that these things will only last shorter than it deemed used to be.

BRP Davao del Sur in Sasa Wharf, Davao City. From Joe Bravo.
In Davao City which is in Mindanao, albeit the Martial Law implemented that put the whole city on high alert as well as being under lockdown, it does not stop the navy men to celebrate its 119th anniversary as a military organization in Sasa Wharf. In this event, there are new assets that are to enter active service where it will further enhance the capabilities of the Philippine Navy in a sense that it can further conduct its mandate.

In the line of the celebrations, the Philippine Navy is set to commission its second Landing Platform Dock ship that are the largest in its fleet. This is the BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) which is a Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock that was based from Makassar-class LPDs of Indonesia. Not also to mention that the BRP Gregorio del Pilar is also in Davao City, docking after its Singapore visit in an exhibition that was recently finished.

Also in Davao City, are the MPAC Mk. 3s where like the BRP Davao del Sur, is also the newest assets the Philippine Navy have where it will be installed with missiles where it will be the SPIKE-ER missiles from Israel. Considerably, it will be the first for the navy to have a missile-bearing ship once again in its arsenal as for the meantime until the new guided missile frigates will get delivered by year 2020.
Above: MPAC Mk. 3s on route to Davao City. Posted by John Junnel Sanoy.

With regards to the upcoming event, a Pitz Defense Analysis contributor managed to gather the photos and share it voluntary to us where these photos are a sight where size comparison between the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Davao del Sur in Sasa Wharf can be highly seen from the water overlooking the docks. These photos are shared by Iej Etapalag, a Pitz Defense Analysis community member.

In such a manner, celebrations such as these are still on-going despite the violence and the Martial Law in Mindanao which in that proves that things can still be gone as good as it is as well as having normal lives on-going where in implementation, lives are guaranteed to be safer and be protected as per Mindanaoan points of view. Hence, a number of naval assets in Davao may also have leverage so as for protecting its coastline from threats.

Selfies still in Davao. A far cry on the things it should be.
From Edsel Salomon's FB account.
As per the present situation, the island of Mindanao and its inhabitants are still doing out the best to go on and live with normal lives where in activities, events and military operations on-going, the military is still doing its best to flush out terrorism from the island as well as to keep on holding and containing them where Martial Law in its effect. Citizens affected are to comply with hopes that all of these things will end. And on to that, the Philippine Navy will have it as usual to celebrate its 119th anniversary in Davao in which it may be considered the first one for them to do so. Hence, in these activities goes with the dreams of everlasting peace and the eventual progress in this very island where for many years, it was plagued with various conflicts that have tarnished its name. Overall, it's still fine in the rest of Mindanao with the exception of Marawi City. The hopes that terrorism will end shall be in sight where as decisive actions are in place, so does the dreams of a peace in Mindanao as well as the progress it corresponds.


Inspire More said...

Good day!

May we suggest titles for your next writeup?

- AW109s and the Marawi Crisis Airstrike
- Baptista de Andrade as a Navy Stopgap Option.

Thank you!

Magaya_sys_PE said...

Good idea! These discussions are indeed interesting to read so to speak.

I can't wait any longer...

Inspire More said...

Add "Precision Guided Munitions Options for the AFP" as well. That is one, beautiful topic so to speak.

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