Security officials, senators meet to tackle Marawi crisis

MANILA-- National security officials arrived in the Senate on Wednesday, 9 a.m. to brief senators on the developments in the conflict-torn Marawi City.

Present were Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Eduardo AAo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte earlier asked Congress to extend the period of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a Palace briefing, said that in the letter sent by the President to the leaders of Congress Monday evening, the extension was called for as the existing rebellion in Mindanao will not be quelled completely by the July 22, the expiration of the 60-day period of the initial martial law proclamation.

The President has also called on Congress to convene in a special joint session Saturday to deliberate and consider his request.

Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III, in an earlier interview, expressed hope that the Congress would approve the President's request.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said that he was supportive of Pres. Duterte's decision to extend the period of martial law.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, for his part, said Congress would most likely grant the President's request.

He said in a radio interview that majority of Filipinos favored the President's declaration of martial law to restore peace and order in the southern region.

Under the Constitution, the effectivity of the declaration can only last for 60 days and its extension requires the concurrence of Congress. The 60-day martial rule is set to expire on July 22.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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