Officials to brief congressmen on 3rd Mindanao martial law extension
MANILA, Philippines — The executive department will conduct a security briefing with lawmakers at the House of Representatives as President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to extend martial law in Mindanao until end of 2019.
The briefing is set on Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. at the Aquino-Makalintal Hall inside the Batasang Pabansa Complex. It was not clear if the discussion would be open to media coverage.
Earlier Monday, security officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. briefed senators on their recommendation to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.
There will also be a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, December 12, to formally tackle the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019. The martial rule in the southern region is set to expire this December 31.
In his letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Arroyo dated December 6, Duterte justified the need for an extension by saying terrorist groups “continue to defy the government by perpetrating hostile activities” in Mindanao.
“Security assessment submitted by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) highlights certain essential facts which indicate that rebellion still persists in Mindanao and public safety requires the continuation of martial law,” he claimed.
Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao in May 2017 after the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City.
Congress, upon Mr. Duterte’s request, later extended it until the end of 2018 despite the government’s declaration of an end to fierce urban fighting in the war-torn area.
Several lawmakers opposed the proposal with Albay 1st Dist. Rep. Edcel Lagman saying it has no “constitutional basis” and would mean “an admission that the military has failed to achieve the purported objectives of the previous martial law extensions.”
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