MANILA -- The possibility of further extending martial law in Mindanao has been discussed when President Rodrigo Duterte recently convened the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EC-NSC), MalacaAang announced on Thursday.
Taking into account the lingering terrorist and communist threats, the EC-NSC committed to put into study the possible lifting or further extension of martial law therein, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said among the factors initially considered during the EC-NSC meeting was the outlook of the people of Mindanao, an overwhelming majority of whom support martial law in view of the present situation they are in.
He said the facilitation that martial law extension will bring to the Marawi rehabilitation, as well as regaining normalcy in Mindanao, and indispensable constitutional and legal factors have also been considered by the panel.
Duterte put Mindanao under martial in May last year when Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups occupied Marawi City, resulting in nearly five months of heavy fighting that left much of the city in ruins.
Congress granted Duterte's request for martial law extension in December 2017.
Panelo said the recent anarchical activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) have also been tackled during the EC-NSC meeting that was chaired by Duterte.
The President was unwavering with regard to the issue as a result of the communist group's efforts in infiltrating and overthrowing the government, he said.
The Palace official said the President has directed the Department of Justice to pursue the proscription case against the CPP-NPA-NDF as a terrorist organization.
Panelo said Duterte has also directed the justice department to conduct an in-depth investigation on the shooting incident in Sagay that resulted in the death of nine farmers.
The Chief Executive likewise announced the creation of the National Task Force in order to address the armed conflict occasioned by the local communists, he said.
The President is very much involved in various matters concerning our country but considers national security as one of the most vital concerns that must always be overseen by the government, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency