The Department of National Defense (DND) said it is regularly consulting with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police regarding the lifting of martial law in Mindanao as soon as possible.
DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong made this remark after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said she plans to seek the lifting of martial law in her area of jurisdiction.
“The lifting of martial law in Mindanao is constantly being evaluated by the Defense Department and there are regular consultations with the AFP and PNP regarding this. In fact, we would like to lift Martial Law in Mindanao as soon as possible but this should only be done after a complete assessment and validation by the security sector and local governments before we recommend it to the President,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The lady mayor bared this proposal during the 5th Davao Investment Conference in Davao City last June 20.
She added that martial law should only be imposed in areas where peace and order remain unstable.
“The DND takes cognizance of Mayor Duterte’s desire to lift Martial Law in Davao City and other areas that are relatively peaceful. We value the wisdom and firsthand knowledge of our local executives of the prevailing security environment in their respective communities and we always take their observations and recommendations into consideration,” Andolong said.
Andolong noted that in February, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Supreme Court that he would recommend the lifting of martial law in Mindanao by July 1 if amendments to the existing Human Security Act were passed by the legislature.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” he said.
Congress, 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 the above-mentioned island 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 Dec. 31, 2017, at the President’s request.
The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December, granted the Chief Executive’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 – December 31, 2018. (PNA)
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