MANILA Sharing the view of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the lifting of martial law in Mindanao by yearend, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. cited the need for additional measures against terrorism.
We have the same position. I know the security arrangement in Davao City and other urban centers there so kung kaya (We have the same position. I know the security arrangement in Davao City and other urban centers there so we are capable of doing it), he told journalists after the opening ceremony of the three-day 5th Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit in Shangri-La at the Fort on Tuesday.
Martial law was raised over Mindanao on May 23, 2017 after the series of attacks by the Maute Group in Marawi City.
The 60-day martial rule in the country's largest island group was extended thrice in line with the government's bid to neutralize terror groups operating in the south.
Esperon said the decision for the eventual lifting of the martial law depends on President Rodrigo R. Duterte but stressed that a joint command conference will be conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
If we lift it, then we should be more diligent and we must have more deployment, he said.
Esperon said the additional deployment means more deployment in terms of check-pointing, hardening of targets and talking to possible targets � precautionary measures.
Even going through dry run exercises if we have to. I mean, more activities to counter-terrorism, he said.
He, however, said that measures against terrorism will get a further boost if the proposed amendments on the Human Security Act will be approved so that we have something to bank on.
Because if it will be amended, it will give us more tools to fight terrorism. Then it will be good for us, Esperon said.
So, for now, our position is we are not inclined to recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao, he added.
The Human Security Act (HAS) of 2007, otherwise known as Republic Act 9372, is the country's anti-terrorism law, which is eyed to be amended to give it more teeth.
Among the proposed amendments to this law include increasing the number of days a suspected terrorist can be detained from the current three days and to allow regional trial courts to issue authorizations and to wiretap suspects from 30 days to 60 days or longer. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency