ILIGAN CITY: President Rodrigo R. Duterte is expected to lift martial law in Mindanao at midnight on Tuesday after two years and seven months because the law and order has been restored in the southern Philippines.
But in Lanao del Sur, Gov. Mamintal Bombit Adiong Jr. had been pushing for the extension of martial law, particularly in his province.
Adiong’s call followed the killing last week of Police Officer Amen Lucman Macalangan, acting municipal police station of Binidayan, Lanao del Sur, and his companion in Pagayawan town by still unidentified attackers.
In a statement released to the media on Sunday by the provincial information office, Adiong also sought public support in the police and military pursuit operations against suspects in the killing of a town chief-of-police, and a Philippine Army Scout Ranger last week.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “Upon the recommendation of the security sector President (Rodrigo Duterte) has decided to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore.”
“The security sector believes that the objective of the martial law has been achieved,” said Lorenzana, who is also the martial law administrator.
He said the rebellion in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province and other areas in Mindanao had been effectively stopped.
Lorenzana said the security forces “are confident that they can maintain the current peace and order in Mindanao and that an attack similar in scale to Marawi can not be waged by the remnants of the Mautes or by any other terrorist groups in the future.”
Martial law was first declared on May 23, 2017, when the Islamic State-affiliated Maute Group attacked Marawi City. It was extended from July 24 to Dec. 31, 2017. Two other extensions were granted by Philippine congress for the entire years of 2018 and 2019.
The Philippines military spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said Mindanao will still be under a state of national emergency.
On Sept. 4, 2016, Duterte signed a proclamation and declared an indefinite “state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao” following the deadly Sept. 2 blast in his home city of Davao that left 14 dead and 70 others injured.
The proclamation grants sweeping powers to the police and armed forces, and is not subject to a 60-day limitation as with martial law.
Unlike martial law, the one-page proclamation does not require congressional approval and will remain in effect “until lifted or withdrawn by the president.”
MASIDING NOOR YAHYA