Senate minority bloc supports Mindanao residents' position on martial law extension

Postado Dezembro 08, 2017

"The recommendation, I don't have the details of as to the length, but as far as I am concerned, there is a recommendation to similarly support the recommendation of the Philippine National Police", Padilla said.

The political oppositionists in the 24-member Senate made their stand known following a recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (PNP) that martial law be extended in the whole of Mindanao for one year.

Armed Forces spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla, however, could not say for how long the military wanted martial rule to stay.

He said the recommendation has been submitted to Malacañang by Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana.

Padilla said he is not privy to the contents of the recommendation, but said martial law is needed due to the threat posed by terrorist groups that attacked Marawi City led by the ISIS-inspired Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf group.

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

The military still faces "significant violent activities" from groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao, Lanao provinces, and Cotabato, as well as the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, Padilla told reporters. This will be official once approved by a regional trial court, according to the Human Security Act of 2007.

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.

Minority senators Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes said they are ready to oppose any move to extend military rule in Mindanao beyond 2017.

President Rodrigo Duerte declared Mindanao under martial law on May 23, shortly after fighting broke out between government forces and extremist gunmen in Marawi City.

The five-month war in Marawi which ended in October between government troops and the Maute terror group turned homes and buildings into rubble and displaced over 300,000 residents.