Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO) “Do not be afraid, but be alert.” That is Malacañang’s advice to Filipinos after a blast left 14 people dead in Davao City. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in an interview with Radyo ng Bayan, said the public should “continue with (their) lives” while helping authorities with reports of suspicious activities. “We are facing a faceless enemy, and the best way is to get our act together as government and as one people,” he said.
Andanar said the fight against terrorists is everyone’s fight. “This is the fight of the entire country.” After the explosion in the night market on Friday evening, there were reports of a transmission tower bombed in North Cotabato and the Polomolok vice mayor’s house damaged by a hand grenade explosion in South Cotabato. READ: Two blasts hit Mindanao after Davao City bombing — reports “With what happened ay it is apparent that terrorism and terrorist acts will happen and they happen during the most unsuspecting times. So we just really have to be careful,” the secretary said. Asked if the Davao City attack had anything to do with President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs, Andanar said, “We cannot deny the fact that we also have enemies (among) the drug lords. And we cannot deny it that these drug lords are also well funded, and they have their own nefarious interest to protect.” He said drug lords are usually “part of the menu of suspects” that they have but in the case of the Davao City bombing, Duterte believes that there is higher probability that terrorists are behind it. The Abu Sayyaf earlier said that an allied group was behind the bombing. “We have to accept the fact that our government is on (a) serious war against illegal drugs and serious war against terrorism in Sulu, in Basilan, and these terrorists will always find a way to retaliate,” Andanar said.
The secretary said that Filipinos should “not be cowed by the terrorists.” “We continue with what we do because if we stop what we’re doing, it’s like the terrorists won already,” he said. “Huwag po tayong magpasakop, huwag po tayong magpatalo sa mga terorista, at tayo po ay makipagtulungan sa ating awtoridad,” he said. (Let us not submit to them, let us not yield to the terrorists, and let’s help the authorities.) Andanar said people should coordinate with village officials and local government units, as well as the police and military. “Let’s watch each other’s back. And kung mayroon kayong makitang mga suspicious acts, mga acts na hindi normal ay isumbong ho natin agad sa security guard, sa awtoridad para mapanatili po natin ang kaayusan ng ating paligid at ng ating bansa, seguridad,” he said. (If you see suspicious acts, acts that are not normal, report to security guards, to authorities so that we can maintain the order in our surroundings and the security of our country.) State of lawlessness Hours after the Davao City attack, Duterte declared a “state of lawlessness.”
READ: Duterte declares ‘state of lawlessness’ Amid requests from media to release the official document on the order to clarify its coverage and parameters, Andanar said it has already been drafted. “I think it was already finalized last night ‘no, pero ilalabas po natin within the day or tomorrow morning,” he said during the interview. He said he has also not yet received any report on the final investigation on the Davao bombing. Andanar explained that the proclamation on the state of lawlessness would give the military authority to help the Philippine National Police. “At kaya isinasama iyong Armed Forces of the Philippines para mas lalong masiguro ang seguridad ng ating bansa (That’s why we included the Armed Forces of the Philippines so that we can ensure the security of our country),” he said.