MANILA If legislators can pass an Anti-Terrorism Act within the first half of the year, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he will recommend the lifting of martial law in Mindanao by July 1.
He made the statement during the National Defense College of the Philippines Alumni forum, titled "The National Security Outlook for the Philippines in 2019", which was held at Honor Hall, NDCP Compound, Camp Aguinaldo, in Quezon City.
Lorenzana said such law, if enacted, will no longer necessitates the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus.
Existing laws against terrorism have no teeth, which necessitates the creation of such measure, he added.
"This is the main argument that we presented to the Senate when we were there to defend martial law. I told them if they can pass it within the (first) half of this year, then I can recommend the cessation of martial law," Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the extension of martial law in Mindanao will help the government address violent extremism and terrorism.
He said martial law allows law enforcement agencies, local officials and the military to coordinate, collaborate and communicate efficiently and effectively.
"It ensures that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can provide an environment conducive to rehabilitation and development," Lorenzana noted.
Congress, in joint session December 12, approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019.
Convening in a joint session early December, the Senate and the House of Representatives granted the Chief Executive's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. (PNA)
Source; Philippines News Agency