- President declared a state of lawlessness in Davao City following deadly blast
- He clarified that it’s not martial law, said people can move freely in Davao City
- He also assured the public government is there to help them
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of lawlessness in Davao City early Saturday morning in the aftermath of the night market blast which left at least more than a dozen people dead and scores more wounded.
“There will be major checkpoints, curfew,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying. “This is not the first time Davao has been sacrificed under the altar of violence.”
Duterte made the declaration after visiting the site of the blast.
“I have this duty to protect the country, keep intact the integrity of the nation,” he said.
At the same time, the president stressed his declaration was not tantamount to martial law as there would be no random searches or restriction of movement in Davao City.
“Everybody can come in and out of Davao”, he said. “Davao is safe, there is no criminality here except terrorism.”
Duterte also assured the public that their government was there to help them out.
“Government is here with you, as much as humanly possible. We will protect everybody,” he said.
Under Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the president “may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless invasion, or rebellion” without the need for martial law.
It is believed the blast that ripped through the market originated from an LPG tank although investigators have yet to establish a definite conclusion.
No group has also yet come out to claim responsibility for the blast, with presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions and to let the authorities do their job.