Threat groups’ forces and capabilities have significantly dwindled
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has formally recommended to President Rodrigo R. Duterte not to extend martial law in Mindanao once its third extension lapses by year-end.
Lorenzana, in a message to reporters, said he submitted his recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.
“The Department of National Defense, based on the assessment conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, has recommended to the President not to extend martial law in Mindanao when it expires on 31 December 2019. The recommendation was submitted to Malacañang today (Wednesday),” he added.
In support of this, Lorenzana said the country’s security forces have determined that the purpose of implementing martial law has been attained.
He added that prevailing security conditions in Mindanao as well as those of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have greatly improved since the defeat of the Maute fighters in October 2017.
“The AFP believes that the Maute Group and other threat groups can no longer launch a Marawi-type attack as their forces and capabilities have significantly dwindled,” Lorenzana said.
Aside from this, the DND chief said significant strides in combating insurgency have been achieved with three Guerilla Fronts and three Pulang Bagani Command cleared and dismantled, respectively.
The House of Representatives, in a joint session held on Dec. 12, 2018, has 235 in favor, 28 against, and one abstention in the vote to approve the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.
The AFP recommended another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao in a bid to totally neutralize terror groups still operating in Mindanao.
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.
The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July 2017, granted the extension of martial law until December 31, 2017 at the President’s request.
The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December of that year, granted Duterte’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 January 1 to December 31, 2018. (PNA)