AFP recommends extension of martial law due to increasing threats, Senate minority group opposes

Manila, Philippines – Due to increasing security and safety issues caused by the terrorists, communist rebels and other armed groups, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared that it is seeking for extension of martial law.

The AFP made its statement after Interior officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy said that the Philippine National Police has recommended to implement extension of martial law in Mindanao.

The said extension is recommended for another year.

In a press briefing, AFP Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that AFP has already submitted its recommendation to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in support to PNP. The spokesman, however, did not provide further details.

“As far as I am concerned, there is a recommendation to similarly support the recommendation of the Philippine National Police,” he said during the Task Force Marawi briefing on Friday.

“But I am not privy to the whole report and I am not at liberty to discuss whatever it is that has been placed in the report until such time that the decision has been made,” he added, noting that extension of martial law is still in Mindanao.

Maj. Gen. Padilla also shared that terrorists are recruiting new members and violent incidents have also increased caused by rebel groups, these are only some of the reasons why the AFP is also seeking to have martial law in Mindanao extended for another year.

“The increasing violence initiated by the Left is part of the reason why martial law may be needed in order to cover areas where potential terrorists may be hiding,” he said, pertaining to recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA) against the government forces.

The AFP official also cited that violent incidents involving NPA have increased by 65 percent in one year and recorded 2,000 percent increase in the amount of damaged government assets and other private businesses.

Meanwhile, the members of Senate minority opposition expressed their disapproval to extend martial law.

“We, members of the minority, support the position of Mindanaoans for no martial law extension in their home island,” the Senate minority group said in a statement.

The said statement was issued by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and senators Kiko Pangilanan, Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes, and Risa Hontiveros.

“Martial law, together with the air strikes, was the reason why they fled Marawi in the early days of the Maute siege. And martial law is also the reason why they are afraid to return, even in cleared areas,” the statement said.

“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? What guarantees do they have that they can return to their old location and start life anew?” they added.

Marawi city has been declared liberated by President Duterte in October, despite it, both the AFP and PNP have recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

After the recommendations, Congress would have to convene another special session to discuss should the president makes a formal request for extension.

Source: Manila Bulletin, GMA News

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