AFP to push for tougher anti-terrorism law as Mindanao martial law ends
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would continue to push for a tougher law against terrorism, as President Rodrigo Duterte declared that he would no longer extend martial law in Mindanao.
“The AFP will pursue our advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent counterterrorism,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte would no longer ask Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Martial law in Mindanao will expire on Dec. 31, 2019, after being extended by Congress three times since 2017.
The entire Mindanao region was placed under martial law in May 2017 by President Duterte after Islamic State-inspired terrorists laid siege to Marawi City.
Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he would no longer recommend an extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The assessment of the military and the police indicate that the situation in Mindanao has “greatly improved” since 2017.
Arevalo said they were “pleased” that their recommendation of non-extension of martial law was considered by the President.
“We have cited several reasons like improved security climate in Mindanao, the continued decline of Daesh-inspired local terrorist groups, and to further promote an environment more conducive to economic activities as it did in terms of increase in trade and commerce in Mindanao,” he said.
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