MANILA MalacaAang on Wednesday thanked the two houses of Congress for granting President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law for another year in Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the approval by Congress of the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao is a positive development.
We thank our lawmakers for sharing the Executive's view that the extension is purely intended for the general welfare and well-being of the people of Mindanao, Panelo said in a statement.
During Wednesday's joint session, the Senate and the House of Representatives voted 235-28-1 in favor of martial extension from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.
Panelo said public safety demands decisive action from the President, whose primordial mandate is to protect and serve the people.
Further, it is our shared responsibility to ensure the integrity of our nation, the security of our people and the sustained growth and development of Mindanao, he added.
In his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Dec. 6, Duterte said rebellion still persists in Mindanao and public safety requires the continuation of martial law.
With the continuation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, we expect to achieve substantial progress in addressing the persisting rebellion in Mindanao, as well as promoting the overall security and peace and order situation in the island, Panelo said.
Panelo assured that the fundamental rights and liberties of our citizens shall at all times be respected and that our uniformed services shall, act strictly within the confines of their mandate.
In his remark during joint session of Congress, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said "actual rebellion" still clearly persists in Mindanao based on assessments made by the security authorities.
Notwithstanding the substantial gains achieved during the Martial Law period, as extended, we cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that Mindanao is still in the midst of rebellion, Medialdea said.
We are at the cusp of ending rebellion in Mindanao. Now more than ever, we cannot afford to show our enemies a moment of weakness in our resolve to defeat them, he added.
On May 23, 2017, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 2016, declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao after Islamic State-inspired Maute Group attacked Marawi City.
After the 60-day imposition of martial law expired, Duterte asked the Congress to extend his proclamation until Dec. 31, 2017.
Due to lingering terror threat and armed insurgency of the New People's Army, Duterte requested for a one-year extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2018. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency