MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday said the decision whether to extend martial law in Mindanao would depend on the recommendations of the security cluster.
That will depend on the recommendation of the military. The President always heeds the advice or recommendation of the military and other police forces there, because they are the ones who are knowledgeable on the conditions existing there, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Panelo, however, clarified there is no suggestion so far from the military to extend martial law beyond December 31 this year.
Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law in May last year amid clashes between the government troops and the ISIS-inspired Maute group and Abu Sayyaf in Marawi City.
Congress later granted Duterte's request to extend martial even after Marawi had been freed from the terrorists' presence on Oct. 17, 2017.
Panelo believed martial law can be extended if it would be helpful in maintaining peace and order.
Because if it does not, then why do you have to maintain it?, he added.
According to the military, Panelo said martial law has helped in the peace and order situation and has dissuaded the terrorists from inflicting violence against the population.
It is helping the populationthe population is not even opposing it, so to my mind, there is a need to extend it, Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo admitted that Duterte is getting exasperated over the long-delayed groundbreaking of the most affected area of war-torn Marawi City.
Yes, he was exasperated but then again, tapos na iyong red tape na iyon, eh mag-uumpisa na eh (that red tape is over. It will start soon), Panelo said, noting that the groundbreaking will begin by the end of October.
Sometimes you cannot also avoid delays. Eh masyadong malaki ang problema natin sa Marawi (We have too much problems in Marawi). What is important is it will start at the end of the month and mabilis na iyan (It will be fast), Panelo said.
Panelo also defended Duterte's absence during Wednesday's first anniversary of Marawi liberation.
Because it conflicted with the certain schedules that occurred yesterday or the other day, he said.
His non-attendance doesn't mean that he was not interested. In fact, he has been doing a lot of things for the rehabilitation of that place, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency