MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend the martial law in Mindanao when it expires by the end of this year, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.
“The Office of the President wishes to announce that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not extend martial law in Mindanao upon its expiration on December 31, 2019,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Panelo said the president made the decision following the recommendation of his security and defense advisers on the situation in the region.
“The Commander-in-Chief made the decision following the assessment of his security and defense advisers of the weakening of the terrorist and extremist rebellion, a result of the capture or neutralization of their leaders, as well as the decrease in the crime index, among the factors considered,” he said.
“Contrary to the suppositions of the vocal minority on the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, this decision of the President shows how he responds to the situation on the ground,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said he recommended the non-extension of martial law in Mindanao after the military and police assured they have already achieved their objective of securing the region.
He added that with the present situation, authorities believe that peace and order can be maintained and improved further without military rule.
Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.
The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.
The Palace expressed confidence in the capability of the country’s security forces in maintaining the peace and security of Mindanao without extending Martial Law.
“The people of Mindanao are assured that any incipient major threat in the region would be nipped in the bud,” Panelo added.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier expressed support for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, saying it would be good for the country’s economy.
The DILG also assured that local governments are now more engaged in working with their counterparts in the security sector to carry out peace and security measures to protect the public against possible threat from extremists and communist rebels.