NATIONAL Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said there were five pressing issues that would necessitate the extension of martial law in Mindanao for one more year.
These are: the need to fully defeat terrorist groups, to pursue war on drugs, to implement reforms in the local government units (LGUs), to “shepherd” the peace process with Muslim separatist groups, and the necessity to pursue economic development in Mindanao.
Esperon, together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, briefed the senators on the need to extend martial law in Southern Philippines.
Asked whether the senators expressed support for the extension, Esperon said, “Oo naman. Ganun din naman mga senador eh. Gusto nilang magkaroon ng peace and development sa Mindanao (Of course. The senators also want to have peace and development in Mindanao).”
“We want to do it within the framework of one year because these are all long term (efforts). Fighting terrorism is long term, fighting drugs is long term,” Esperon said in a chance interview. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO