By Catherine S Valente/Manila Times
President Rodrigo Duterte has requested Congress to extend for another year the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, heeding the recommendation of the police and the military.
“The president has sent a letter request to both Houses for a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told Manila Times.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that Duterte supported the military and police’s recommendation on the martial law extension.
“Yes, the CPNP (chief of the Philippine National Police) and CSAFP (chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) have submitted a joint letter requesting… ML (martial law) extension,” he said.
The AFP had recommended to the president the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year, citing persisting threats of terrorism despite one year of implementation of military rule.
The House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to hold a joint session next week to discuss Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Duterte first placed the entire Mindanao under martial law on May 23, 2017 after the Maute Group, which is inspired by the Islamic State (IS), laid siege to Marawi City, Iligan del Sur. Congress twice extended the military rule in Mindanao, at Duterte’s request, in a bid to quell rebellion in the war-torn region.
The first extension ended on Dec 31, 2017, while the second will expire at the end of 2018.
On Wednesday, Duterte admitted that his administration was battling in “so many fronts,” which include pro-IS groups whose main objective was to “kill and destroy.”
Last week, the president ordered the deployment of additional troops to Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and the Bicol Region to respond to “sporadic acts of violence.”
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