We are waiting for the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) it depends on their recommendation, but if it’s just me, I will not recommend anymore the extension,” Lorenzana, martial law administrator, told reporters yesterday.
The STAR/File
DND chief sees no need to extend martial law
Michael Punongbayan, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is not keen on recommending a further extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year.

“We are waiting for the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) it depends on their recommendation, but if it’s just me, I will not recommend anymore the extension,” Lorenzana, martial law administrator, told reporters yesterday.

Malacañang said it would take into account Lorenzana’s position. “That will be considered by the President. The President always says that he will defer to the advice or the recommendation of those on the ground,” a Palace statement read.

Martial law in Mindanao, imposed at the height of the Maute-led siege of Marawi City from May to October 2017, is set to expire on Dec. 31 this year.

President Duterte, with the approval of Congress, first extended it until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and then throughout 2019.

Lorenzana said he believes the government is now more capable of addressing terror issues even without martial law, but Congress only has to pass the law giving more teeth to the Human Security Act.

“Then that’s a better arrangement than martial law,” Lorenzana said.

He, however, noted that any decision on martial law would still depend on recommendations from the AFP and the PNP.

“We’ll see, we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” Lorenzana said.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo acknowledged there are areas in Mindanao where martial law can already be lifted. He said one such area is Davao City, based on the observation of Eastern Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen Felimon Santos.

“Indeed, Davao City has met the criteria for why it should be removed from the coverage of martial law,” he said in Filipino.

“But ultimately, the President will decide. We have to get input from local government units, they’re the ones who ultimately benefit from this – and especially the local commanders who directly witness the situation,” he added.

He stressed that martial law has remained a potent tool for dealing with terror and other security issues as it has resulted in the arrest or capture of high-value law breakers and forced the surrender of many others.

DELFIN LORENZANA
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