All is well for in Mindanao and the adjoining province of Maguindanao under the martial law declared in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

This developed as residents in the area have remained solid behind the extension of martial law for the entirety of 2018, citing it has done well for the island as a whole and in particular.

The relentless illegal drugs campaign, war on terror, and corruption has brought down the crime volume here and neighboring areas by as much as 60 percent compared to previous years, local officials noted.

“The martial law implementation is the best thing that happened so far on eliminating threats of terrorism and proliferation of illegal drugs in the city,” Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said in an interview.

Showing support for martial law, a city ordinance dubbed “Discipline Hours” has been institutionalized barring Cotabateños from roaming the city streets between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

In the city’s illegal drugs campaign, 316 or 70 percent of the total 479 city jail inmates were separately apprehended due to peddling and use of “shabu”, an illegal drug substance.

The city jail facility that could only house 100 detainees is excessively congested due to the 479 inmates, Senior Jail Officer 3 Neiliza Cepeda, city jail community relations’ officer, said.

A total of 411 males and 68 females are currently detained at the city jail, 37 of whom are considered high-risk inmates.

Plans for the construction of a much bigger jail facility along Malagapas district here has yet to materialize.

The Maguindanao provincial jail situated at Pedro Colina Hill, this city, is similarly congested with plans to also transfer it by next year in Buluan town of the province.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, however, remains unfazed of the swelling number of inmates at the provincial jail, citing that peace and order in the province became stable under martial rule.

“Martial law is still the best option for Maguindanao and Mindanao as a whole right now,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 this year following the siege on Marawi City in Lanao del Sur by combined Abu Sayyaf and Maute terror elements.

Early on, five Maute terrorists linked to the Sept. 2, 2016 Roxas night market bombing in Davao City were separately apprehended in this city.

Those nabbed were Mohammad Chenikandiyil TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, Wendell Apostol Facturan and Musali Mustapha. Chenikandiyil was first detained in November last year and then released.

He was later included in an arrest order by the Department of National Defense issued by President Duterte after placing Mindanao under martial law up to Dec. 31, 2017 in response to the siege by the Maute group in Marawi.

The battle to retake Marawi by government forces from the hands of the terrorists ended on Oct. 23 following the deaths of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Isnilon Hapilon and Maute ringleader Omar Maute.

Congress, upon the request of the President, approved on Dec. 8 the extension of martial law in Mindanao throughout 2018 on efforts to sustain the momentum on eliminating lawless groups out to sow terror such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters’ faction of Abu Toraife in Maguindanao and the communist New People’s Army in North Cotabato.

Only recently, a giant Chinese construction firm has expressed interest in constructing a modern airport and seaport for this city through the approval of the national government.

City representatives and those from the China Engineering Construction (Shenzhen) Company are set to meet early next year to discuss the proposed establishment of the city’s state-of-the-art airport and seaport.

As of October this year, city revenue collection has reached PhP130-million and is expected to hit the PhP50 million mark by yearend, compared to PhP126 million in 2016.

Aurea Yu, city business licensing office chief, said commercial establishments in the locality have ballooned to more than 3,000 in recent years. (PNA)