PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte will heed the recommendation of the police and military whether to extend martial law in the Mindanao region.
“Martial law is a military thing,” he said at a press briefing at the presidential palace late Tuesday. “It’s their assessment or evaluation of the Mindanao situation.”
Mr. Duterte said he had not received any endorsements from the two.
The President placed Mindanao under martial rule in 2017 after extremists linked to Islamic State raided Marawi City, leaving about 100 people dead and displacing thousands after clashes with the military.
Congress extended the 60-day martial rule until the end of 2017 to help authorities end the Marawi siege that lasted about five months.
Lawmakers again extended martial law, upon the request of Mr. Duterte, in Mindanao until the end of this year to help fight terrorism.
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana earlier said he was not inclined to recommend another extension, calling instead for a tougher anti-terrorism law.
The Philippine National Police also saw no need to extend martial rule in Mindanao, its spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac said last week, noting that the region was under control and continued to show marked stability.
Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia has said martial law should be reserved as an extraordinary measure for lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.
She said law enforcers can address terrorism and other lawless elements in Mindanao without it. — NPA