PH Defense chief recommends non-extension of martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said he already submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte his recommendation to no longer extend the martial law in Mindanao.

Lorenzana said his recommendation was based on the assessment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The Defense chief said the military and the police gave assurances that 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. He also said that non-extension of martial law will be good for business.

“It’s time to go back to normal. We can attract more investors,” he said.

Last month, Lorenzana said he was not keen on anther martial law extension in Mindanao, saying it has been going on for too long.

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.

Lorenzana also believes that the security forces can do its job better if Congress can pass the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007, calling it a better arrangement than the martial law.

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.

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