MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives formally received on Tuesday the eight-page letter of President Rodrigo Duterte where he presented his reasons to propose for a five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao.
In his letter, the president argued that the conflict in Marawi City cannot be finished on July 22, the last day of the 60-day martial law period.
This is based on his personal assessment, as well as on reports and recommendations from the Secretary of National Defense, AFP and PNP officials monitoring the current situation on the ground.
While the president enumerated the accomplishments of the troops since the declaration of martial law on May 23, he says a lot is yet to be accomplished.
He mentioned that only 12 out of the 279 target personalities were neutralized by the military, while the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups continue to recruit members to strengthen their forces.
Troops were also challenged with the rebel’s high-powered firearms, military grenades and huge supply of ammunition.
Aside from Maute, the military is also neutralizing attacks of Abu Sayaff in Sulu and Basilan, as well as Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) encounters government troops.
Foreign terrorists and other organizations are also found to be helping the Maute.
These rebel groups are using escape routes in adjacent regions and provinces.
On Saturday, Congress will convene in a joint session to discuss the request of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao for another five months. The House of Representatives and Senate will be voting jointly, as the Constitution provides.
On Tuesday the Makabayan Bloc and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. requested for a hearing and briefing before the joint session.
However, according to Majority Floor Leader Cong. Rudy Fariñas, the House will have its briefing on Saturday as many congressmen have not yet come back to Manila until SONA. – Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue