State of emergency an option in Basilan

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales yesterday ruled out the imposition of martial law to address violence in Basilan, but said that a state of emergency is a viable option.

He emphasized that a thorough review of the security situation in Basilan should be made before implementing a state of emergency in the island-province.

According to Gonzales, he met with Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad who earlier recommended the imposition of martial law in the province following the kidnapping of a school official and the mass jailbreak at the provincial jail over the weekend that left two people dead.

“I have talked with the bishop and I told him that martial law is something that we would be using sparingly. It’s a very serious tool of government that as much as possible we should not be using it too often and if we can avoid it at all,” Gonzales said.

He said Jumoad is now supporting a state of emergency in the province.

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