PNP: Martial law in Mindanao may not need 4th extension
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday that the martial law in Mindanao may not need to be extended for the fourth time.
Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said the peace and order situation in Mindanao is now under control. He said the PNP will submit its official recommendation to Malacañang in December on whether or not to extend the military rule in the region.
“Sa ngayon nakikita natin na talagang maaari na rin talagang tanggalin na ang martial law sa buong kapuluan ng Mindanao (For now, we see that the martial law in Mindanao may really be removed),” he told reporters in an interview.
Once the martial law in the region ends, state security forces will only be on high alert in Sulu province where there is still suspected presence of the Abu Sayyaf group, according to Banac.
“Maliban doon, ang peace and order sa buong Mindanao ay under control at ang kriminalidad doon ay napakababa na. Ang proliferation ng loose firearms ay nakontrol na natin at inaasahan natin na mapapanatili natin ito sa darating pang panahon,” said Banac.
(Aside from that, the peace and order situation in the entire Mindanao is under control and the crime volume there is really low now. The proliferation of loose firearms has been controlled and we expect that we will be able to maintain this situation in the next seasons to come.)
He said placing only select provinces in Mindanao — those that still have presence of armed groups — under martial law is still subject for study.
Banac’s remark is similar with that of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who said on Monday that if it was up to him, he will not recommend anymore the extension of martial law.
He said the military rule in the country’s south “has been going on for too long.”
On May 23, 2017 President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao, after the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group attacked Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
Under the law, martial law was only valid for 60 days, but Duterte has since been successful in convincing Congress to extend it thrice.
The recommendations of the police and the military have since been instrumental in the extension of martial law in the region.
Edited by JE
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