Lorenzana recommends lifting of martial law in Mindanao 

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Wed, 04 Dec 2019 09:15:35 +0000

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recommended on Wednesday the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, after it was extended three times.

Lorenzana disclosed in a forum in Makati City that he submitted the recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday morning, based on the endorsement by ground commanders in Mindanao.

“I just sent my recommendation today to the President recommending the non-extension of martial law in Mindanao, the whole of Mindanao,” he said.

“I was assured by our Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police that we have already accomplished what we need to do with martial law and with the situation there now, I think, we believe that we can maintain the peace and order and improve it further,” Lorenzana added.

Despite this, Lorenzana maintained that some residents in Mindanao still felt that there was no martial law declared at all compared to the military rule declared by the late president Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s.

The lifting of martial law will also “attract” more investors, citing one “big investor” coming from Japan “who was about to put up a steel mill” in Mindanao but pulled out when martial law was declared in the southernmost island.

In a separate statement issued later on Wednesday, Lorenzana said the recommendation to lift martial law in Mindanao was based on the military and the police’s recommendation.

“Our security forces have determined that the purpose of implementing martial law has been attained and the prevailing conditions in the whole of Mindanao island, as well as the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi have greatly improved since the defeat of the Maute fighters in October 2017,” he said.

Lorenzana said from the recommendation, the military was confident that the Islamic State-inspired Maute and other threat groups were no longer capable of launching a “Marawi-type attack, as their forces and capabilities have significantly dwindled.”

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in 2017 following the attack in Marawi City led by the Maute group that lasted for five months and ended with the deaths of the Maute brothers and the then-IS Southeast Asian “emir” Isnilon Hapilon.

Since then, high-ranking defense and military officials have pushed for further extension of the military rule, which has been consistently backed by Congress and even the Supreme Court. DEMPSEY REYES