Personnel of the Cotabato City police office screen motorists at a checkpoint into the city from Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.
PNP likely to recommend lifting of Mindanao martial law
Ratziel San Juan ( - November 12, 2019 - 3:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, Philippine National Police spokesperson, on Tuesday said the police are inclined to recommend the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, which was declared in May 2017 and extended to the end of this year.

“Napakaganda na ng kalagayan ng peace and order situation sa buong kapuluan ng Mindanao. At ang hinihintay na lamang natin, of course, ang dumating ang buwan ng Disyembre para tayo makapagbigay na rin ng opisyal na rekomendasyon,” Banac told reporters.

(The peace and order situation in Mindanao is satisfactory. We’re just waiting, of course, for December so we can provide an official recommendation.)

“Sa ngayon, nakikita natin na maaari na talagang tanggalin ang martial law sa buong kapuluan ng Mindanao.”

(As of now, we believe that it’s appropriate to remove martial law in Mindanao.)

Martial law in Mindanao has been in effect since May 2017, declared in response to an attack on Marawi City in Lanao del Sur by members of an Abu Sayyaf faction and by the Maute local terrorist group. Troops retook the city after five months of intense fighting.

Congress readily agreed to extend martial law, which was Initially set for 60 days.

"Nananatili lamang na mataas ang alert level doon sa bahagian ng Sulu, na kung saan meron pa ring mga pinaghihinalaang presensya ng mga terrorist group ng Abu Sayyaf," Banac said.

(However, the alert level remains high in Sulu where the presence of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is suspected.)

Aside from that, the spokesman said that criminality has lowered and the proliferation of “loose firearms” is under control.

Extension talks

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is unlikely to recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao unless otherwise called for by the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"We have sufficient military and police in the area to ensure that the terrorists can no longer do a Marawi-type operation. Plus, the LGUs are clamoring for its lifting such as (Davao City) Mayor Sara (Duterte)," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters late Monday.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in August said she wants Davao City to be exempted from martial law after ambassadors expressed concern on how military rule affects businesses and investors.

Malacañang on Monday said that it would consider Lorenzana’s comment against martial law extension.

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