ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 16, 2009) - The Philippine military said the recent declaration of the state of emergency in Sulu province in the southern Philippines is aimed for public safety and not to alarm the citizens.
The military also assailed false claims by human rights groups that the state of emergency declared by Governor Sakur Tan is being abused by authorities.
Major Gamal Hayudini, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' 4th Civil Relations Group, said the public and other human rights group should not be frightened by the declaration of the state of emergency since it is intended to deal with the Abu Sayyaf terrorists who are holding hostage two Red Cross workers Swiss national Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni.
"The declaration of state of emergency may mean alertness and may suspend normal functions of the government and the concerned agencies to implement preparedness, but it is for the very good of the public since this will result to pressure the kidnappers to release the two remaining kidnap victims," Hayudini said in a statement.
He assured the police and military will always uphold the rights of citizens in Sulu where the crackdown on suspected Abu Sayyaf supporters are going on.
"The public should not be deceived by those who ride on the issue of the said declaration since the order of general search and seizure, including arrests is intended only for the ASG members and their supporters and not intended for the general public," Hayudini said. (Mindanao Examiner)