Military says 5-yr martial law extension may be too long

Alicia Cross
July 11, 2017

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque said if the President would decide to extend martial law in the south, he hoped it wouldn't be for long because he said it would not be good for the country's image.

Martial law was declared in Mindanao on May 23 as fighting broke out between government troops and the local terror group ISIS-linked Maute in Marawi City.

Even if the administration is keen on extending military rule, the decision would still rely on recommendation from the military and police.

A spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday said extending martial law in Mindanao for 5 years may be too long but said the final decision will be up to the political leadership.

As martial law is expected to end its effect on July 22 as provided by law, Alvarez said that it is through Martial Law that rebellion crisis and other related problems in Mindanao could be addressed.

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said of Mr. Alvarez's remarks that the Speaker has "clarified that his remarks to extend martial law until 2022 is his personal opinion".

Yet the urban warfare, despite being under a regime of martial law, has dragged on for seven weeks - surpassing the three-week siege of Zamboanga City in 2013.

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As to Speaker Alvarez's basis in proposing for an extension, Padilla said he might have information at hand not privy to the military.

President Rodrigo Duterte today, July 7 visited the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Light Armor Division of the Philippine Army in Barangay Maria Christina, Iligan City in battle dress uniform as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commander-in-Chief with rank of five-star general.

Under the 1987 Constitution, there are safeguards against the abuse of martial law, such as a review by Congress and a 60-day limit.

Voting 11-3-1, members of the High Court sitting in full court last week dismissed the consolidated petitions challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis of Mr. Duterte's martial law declaration.

In denouncing the planned extension, the CPP pointed out that Duterte claims he listens exclusively to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for advice on the on-going conflict, but military officials claimed they never advised the president to declare martial law.

Mr. Padilla said troops are still pursuing 80 to 100 militants in the war-torn city, among them, hostages coerced to fight and foreign combatants who have joined forces with the Maute terrorists.

"When our soldiers' lives are at risk, they take appropriate measures to defend themselves and that is allowable even by the Geneva Convention". The death toll has breached the 500 mark, with 39 civilians killed, 379 terrorists killed, and 89 government troops killed in action.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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