President Rodrigo Duterte is awaiting a recommendation from the Armed Forces before deciding whether or not to extend the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, which expires at the end of the year, the Palace said Friday.
Neither the Armed Forces of the Philippines nor the Philippine National Police has proposed an extension of military rule in Mindanao, said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
“There is no proposal yet...The President relies on what they say as they are the ones on the ground [and] they know better. They will be the ones to advice the President whether to extend or to lift [martial law],” he added.
On Thursday, Panelo said they will move for its extension if martial law helps make the region more peaceful.
“According to the military, martial law has helped in the peace and order situation and it has dissuaded the terrorists from inflicting the usual violence against the population,” he said.
To eradicate Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi, the Duterte administration had asked that Congress allow the extension of martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2018.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, said his department has been consulting with various groups and members of the community and assessing the situation in Mindanao.
“We are currently assessing the situation, consulting with the population, LGUs, military, police, business and civil society. We will make a recommendation in the next two months before the year ends,” Lorenzana said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Senate would assess the situation in Mindanao before allowing another extension of martial law there.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was sure the AFP would brief both houses of Congress on the subject.
Senator Gregorio Honasan said they should hear both sides of the issue.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said he opposed martial law in Mindanao, saying there was no indication of an actual invasion or rebellion.
“We just passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he said. “Here we see peace initiatives making major headway and unprecedented strides and yet military rule is to be extended. It looks like the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” he said.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said troops in the field are still gathering data. With PNA
He added that the AFP has been reviewing the situation on a daily basis since martial law was first implemented.
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.
The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July last year, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017 at the President’s request.
The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December, granted the Chief Executive’s request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. With PNA