AFP, PNP recommend extension of martial law in Mindanao

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 8, 2017

The military said Friday it recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao, which has been in effect for 7 months, citing "significant violent activities" from extremist groups in the south.

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the recommendation had been submitted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who, "after duly studying it has forwarded the recommendation to Malacañang", although he admitted "I don't have the details as to the length" of time the military wants martial rule prolonged.

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.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur around 1,500 kilometers south of Manila. Congress extended it to December 31 as the 60-day effectivity of the President's order lapsed in July.

Padilla, however, said the threat from the Abu Sayyaf had been significantly reduced that there have been no recent kidnappings of foreign sailors from vessels passing through the country's southern waters.

The declaration is supposed to end on December 31.

After the retaking of Marawi last October, Duterte said he would await recommendation from the AFP and the PNP so that he could decide whether or not to keep Mindanao under martial law.

"Those who survived the siege still remain at large and are attempting to recover by recruiting other members of the society, particularly the vulnerable sector of our population and they are the students, women, and the relatives of those who lost their lives in the fight", Padilla said.

The AFP spokesman said the government also had to prepare to face increasing violence from the New People's Army following the termination by Duterte of formal peace talks with the communists.

According to Padilla, there was a 65-percent increase in violent incidents involving the NPA in Eastern Mindanao since the start of the year.

Of the 617 incidents involving the NPA this year, 382 took place in Eastern Mindanao, he said.

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