Defense chief sees no need for Mindanao martial law extension
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he is not inclined to recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The defense chief said he is personally against the continuation of martial law but will wait for the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Martial law in Mindanao will expire on Dec. 31, 2019 after being extended by Congress since 2017.
It will decide again before the end of the year whether or not to extend martial law in the region.
The entire Mindanao region was placed under martial law in May 2017 by President Rodrigo Duterte after ISIS-inspired terrorists laid siege on Marawi City.
Since then, martial law has been extended by Congress three times.
“Depende sa kanilang recommendation but kung ako lang (personally) I will not recommend anymore the extension,” Lorenzana told reporters Monday on the sidelines of the send-off ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo for military personnel competing in the forthcoming Southeast Asian Games.
“We’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” he added.
In October, the AFP leadership has expressed support to the lifting of martial law in selected areas in Mindanao, particularly Davao City, as recommended by Mayor Sara Duterte – Carpio.
The military leaders on the ground also appear to be in favor of selective martial law in Mindanao.
Lorenzana said martial law in Mindanao may no longer be necessary if the anti-terrorism law is strengthened through the amendment of the Human Security Act.
“Matagal nang masyado eh (It’s been too long), so we can do our job. If the Senate or Congress can the pass the Human Security Act, mabibigyan ng kaunting ngipin yung ating (it will add more teeth to our) law enforcement then that’s a better arrangement than martial law,” he pointed out. /gsg
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