MANILA, June 23, 2011â€” The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao should remain under emergency rule to prevent and suppress lawless elements, Catholic bishops said.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo and Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said over Manila-archdiocese-run Radyo Veritas that military intervention is helping a lot in the region to weed out crimes.
The prelates believe that there is a need for government presence in ARMM in light of rampant violence that has been occurring particularly in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
Bagaforo noted the continuing presence of private armies connected to local politicians despite what the government claims are efforts to dismantle them.
â€œIf you ask me if am in favor of military existence in Maguindanao. Yes. I am in favor of this. At this time I think other areas are not yet controlled by the government,â€ Bagaforo said.
Jumoad also believe that military presence could control the spate of violence plaguing the ARMM.
The prelates made the statement after the Supreme Court affirmed this week the legality of the state of emergency declared over the ARMM by the President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo after the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
The Aquino administration said that it is not lifting the order even with the SC order because local government officials in ARMM want the state of emergency to stay in the region. (CBCPNews)