Martial law extension needed to address continuing armed threats

President Duterte meets with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia in Malacañang Wednesday

President Duterte meets with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia in Malacañang Wednesday

Martial law in Mindanao must be extended. This is the recommendation of the armed forces and the national police to President Rodrigo Duterte, officials said Friday.

This is due to security threats and the ongoing rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Catalino Cuy told CNN Philippines.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao, saying it is needed to decisively resolve the various armed threats in the south.

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the recommendation had been submitted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who, "after duly studying it has forwarded the recommendation to Malacañang", although he admitted "I don't have the details as to the length" of time the military wants martial rule prolonged. And martial law is also the reason why they are afraid to return, even in cleared areas, " Senate minority bloc members said.

"They still remain to be a threat, although they have been significantly degraded in terms of capability and manpower", Padilla said.

He said the terrorists are recruiting vulnerable targets, such as students, children, women, and relatives of those killed in Marawi - more than 900 enemies and 47 civilians.

Padilla said martial law needs to stay also due to possible attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the New People's Army (NPA), and other Abu Sayyaf forces in Mindanao.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur around 1,500 kilometers south of Manila.

When the 60-day period the Constitution sets for the initial declaration lapsed, Duterte sought and was granted an extension by Congress until the end of the year.

Aside from Drilon, the other members of the opposition group are Senators Risa Hontiveros, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Francis Pangilinan and Antonio F. Trillanes IV.

"After the pronounced liberation of Marawi and the announced focus on rehabilitation and trade, what will be the role of the people of Marawi in the planning and rehabilitation of their city?"

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