Lorenzana not keen on another extension of martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019   •   173

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is not keen on recommending another extension of martial law in Mindanao after it expires on December 31, saying it has been going on for too long.

“Kung ako lang, I will not recommend anymore the extension. Matagal nang masyado eh. We can do our job naman,” Lorenzana told reporters in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Kaya nga, especially if the Senate or Congress can pass the, ‘yung Human Security Act na medyo mabigyan ng konting ngipin ‘yung ating law enforcement, then that’s a better arrangement than the martial law,” he added.

Proposed amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 aim to broaden the definition of terrorism, ease restrictions on surveillance and extend the lawful detention of suspected terrorists to 30 days from the current three days.

Lorenzana earlier said these proposed changes would help the police and the military identify terror suspects and build tighter cases against them.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after 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.

However, Lorenzana said he will act accordingly if the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces decide to recommend another extension.

“We’ll see, we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said that President Rodrigo Duterte will take into consideration the recommendation of the defense and security officials before making a decision on whether or not to seek another extension of martial law.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Lorenzana’s pronouncement against prolonging martial rule would also be considered by the chief executive.

“That will be considered by the president. The president always says that he will defer to the advice or recommendation of those who are on the ground,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

AFP to push for tougher anti-terrorism law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (December 10) said they will push for tougher laws against terrorism, as martial law in Mindanao will no longer be extended.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the AFP is pleased that President Rodrigo Duterte heeded their recommendation to no longer extend martial law in Mindanao.

He also said that they will continue to push for tougher laws to prevent counter-terrorism.

“The AFP will pursue our advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent or counter terrorism,” Arevalo said.

Malacañang announced earlier on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend martial law in Mindanao upon its expiration on December 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the AFP said they will “continue to collaborate with local chief executives, and the people in the communities in the conduct of our current activities to sustain these gains brought about by ML.”—AAC

On non-extension of Martial Law: We’re pleased that the Commander in Chief listened to us —AFP

Maris Federez   •   December 10, 2019

(FILE) Filipino government troop check villagers at a military checkpoint in the town of Pingcawayan, North Cotabato province, southern Philippines, 21 June 2017. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed that they are one of the security-related agencies that were consulted as to whether or not Martial Law will be extended or not.

In a statement released on Tuesday (Dec. 10), AFP spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said they are pleased that their recommendation for the non-extension of ML was considered by the Commander-in-Chief.

“We have cited several reasons like improved security climate in Mindanao, the continues decline of the Daesh-inspired local terrorist groups, & to further promote an environment more conducive to economic activities as it did in terms of increase in trade and commerce in Mindanao,” the statement further reads.

Arevalo added that they will continue to collaborate with local chief executives and the people in the communities as they conduct current activities to sustain the gains brought about by Martial Law.

He further said that the AFP will pursue the “advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent or counter-terrorism.” —/mbmf

Duterte won’t extend martial law in Mindanao – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

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.

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