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Right to ‘censure’ eyed during Martial Law

The government is planning to exercise its right to “censure” to protect public safety and national security during the Martial Law period in Mindanao.

“The AFP has not recommended the suspension of the freedom of expression but will exercise the right to censure,” Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said during a press conference in Davao City.

Among the reasons cited by the military were “to ensure the safety of lives, to ensure operational security and the safety of our men in uniform who are fighting, and for other national security considerations.”

The appropriate guidelines on the planned censorship will be crafted and released soon for better public understanding, Padilla added.

“It will cover social media,” Padilla said, citing the need to prevent the spread of “tremendous disinformation” that only undermines military operations and harm innocent civilians.

“You yourselves have seen that tremendous disinformation clouds or creates a thick fog of war that does not allow a better operational picture or provide a better operational picture of the battlefield. And this is one that creates a lot of collateral damage which we want to avoid,” he said.

For now, Padilla said the military will be “very strict” and “very harsh” in dealing with those involved in rebellion in the South.

He said surgical airstrikes have already been launched to drive out terrorists from Marawi City. But he declined to release details of the military’s clearing operations since such disclosure would “endanger lives.”

Padilla assured that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear about the Martial Law declaration since it is intended to address rebellion in Mindanao.

“We would like to assure the public and request you to trust and appeal to you trust the Armed Forces,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)