5-year martial law 'too long — AFP spox

Posted July 11, 2017

"Aided by the principled and properly guided implementation of Martial Law, the collapse of the terrorists support infrastructure is assured", Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

The President declared martial law in Mindanao after government troops clashed with members of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City on May 23.

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

Mr. Duterte has maintained he wants the conflict to be over soon but his decision on whether or not to prolong martial law in Mindanao would depend on the recommendation of troops on the ground. Joseph Victor Ejercito last week separately called on security officials to give another closed-door briefing this week to help the senators make a decision in the event that Duterte seeks an extension of martial law.

Opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said on Monday, July 10 that only President Rodrigo Duterte can initiate the extension of Proclamation Number 216, which put Mindanao under martial law since May 23.

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.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the military is still assessing the situation.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in an interview posted to his office's official Facebook page over the weekend that he would not lift #Martial Law on the strife-torn southern island of Mindanao until advised to do so by the armed forces.

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Increasingly, Mr Trump is also looking to other Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea, for help in resolving the crisis. But Mr Trump acknowledged recently that those efforts had failed.

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

The 60-day limit for the declaration of martial law will end on July 22.

"While I am supportive of the President's declaration of martial law, I hope it will be for the shortest time possible".

"Government has trailed it focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi as the defeat of the Maute-ISIS Group looms with the military operations and the cooperation of local government", he added.

Padilla said the government is ready to start the early stage of rehabilitation of the besieged city.

Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported that only 12 per cent of the Filipinos said they were dissatisfied for a net satisfaction rating of plus 66 per cent, considered a "new personal record high" for Duterte.

About 300 civilians, including the terrorists' hostages, remain trapped in the battle zone, preventing state forces from going all-out against the enemies. The death toll has breached the 500 mark, with 39 civilians killed, 379 terrorists killed, and 89 government troops killed in action.

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