PNP chief to push for martial law extension to ‘maximum period possible’
Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, would personally recommend that martial law in Mindanao be extended to the maximum period possible.
Dela Rosa said he would do that because almost all regions in Mindanao were facing threats of a “Marawi-style” attacks by terror groups.
“Personally ang recommendation ko, extend within the legal framework, kung ano bang maximum (period) na pwedeng i-extend kasi delikado pa doon,” Dela Rosa told reporters after a security meeting with some senators on Tuesday.
Asked to elaborate, Dela Rosa said he would recommend martial rule in Mindanao until the government forces could contain terrorists there.
But would he support the proposal of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to extend martial law until 2022?
Dela Rosa declined to give a categorical answer.
“Nasa implementation side lang kami,” he said. “As a matter of policy, sa Senado na ’yan – five years, four years, six months, six days whatever. Basta kami i-implement namin.”
Dela Rosa also divulged that the security sector had uncovered terror plots targeting other provinces in Mindanao.
To be specific, the PNP chief said threats were monitored in regions of the Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen.
“Region 11 threatened ang Davao. Region 9 threatened ang Zamboanga. Region 10 threatened ang Iligan at Cagayan de Oro. ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) threatened halos lahat ng province. Sa Region 12 threatened ang General Santos, Pikit sa North Cotabato area. Caraga least threatened pero ’yung Butuan at Surigao, ’yan ’yung ruta ng transport papuntang Visayas at Luzon,” Dela Rosa said.
These regions would be possible targets of terrorist where they could start a “Marawi-style uprising,” he said.
Dela Rosa and other security officials, including the military, will give the senators a security briefing before the 60-day martial law period lapses on July 22.
During the briefing, Dela Rosa said the possible extension of martial law would be discussed. /atm
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