PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will lift martial law in Mindanao “anytime”.
“It will be lifted anytime…we just don’t want these terrorists to hurt the hostages, as well as rid the area of hidden explosives,” said the President when he met troops in his fifth visit to war-torn Marawi City on Thursday night.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella confirmed this on Friday.
“President Duterte will lift martial law in Mindanao as soon as the clearing operations are done and the city is fully liberated,” Abella said in a statement.
The President also cautioned the military against celebrating the looming liberation of Marawi from terrorists.
“We will not have any celebration. We will go out quietly,” Duterte said.
Instead of a celebration, the President said he would request a thanksgiving mass for the soldiers who fought lawless elements in Marawi, as well as their comrades who died.
“This is not a cause of celebration. Nobody won here. The soldiers cannot claim victory over Maute. Lives were lost, and there are those who were wounded,” Duterte added.
President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 to suppress a supposed rebellion led by the Maute group. Congress extended the effectivity of the declaration of martial law until the end of 2017 in a joint session in July.