AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez, Jr. and PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte is still awaiting the recommendation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on whether or not to extend the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao.
It can be recalled that Congress allowed the extension of Martial Law in the region until December 31, 2018 upon request of the Duterte administration in order to eradicate Islamic State-inspired terror groups that sparked the Marawi siege.
Panelo said the President still gives utmost consideration to the information that the military provides as the soldiers are the ones monitoring the actual security situation on ground.
However, Panelo believes that another extension of Martial Law remains highly necessary to ensure the safety of the majority of citizens in all parts of the country.
“As I said, if it is helping the population – the population is not even opposing it, so to my mind, there is a need to extend it,” Panelo said. “But according to the President that will depend on the advice, the recommendation of the military because they are the ones on the ground.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense (DND) is continuously assessing the situation in Mindanao through consultations with members of the community, local government units, the business sector and civil society groups.
“We are currently assessing the situation consulting with the population, LGUs, military, police, business and civil society. We will make the recommendation in the next two months before the year ends,” Lorenzana said in a statement. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)