MARAWI Bishop Edwin de la Peña is in favor of another extension of martial law, but only in specific areas and not in the entire Mindanao.
“Not for whole of Mindanao, but perhaps we can understand if it is extended in specific areas,” de la Peña said over Church-run Radyo Veritas.
“For me it is unwise to put the whole of Mindanao in Martial law but specifically in areas that are in tension,” he said.
The prelate said martial law in some places in Mindanao could help Marawi’s rehabilitation.
“The clearing process is going to take a long time, and so we do not look forward to the start of reconstruction of Marawi church, it may take a long time before we can do that. We are more focused on locating our Christian population because it’s very important that you establish, you build up the community before building the structures.” he added.
Martial law was declared in Mindanao on May 23, when fighting in Marawi, the country’s Islamic capital, broke out.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the declaration was limited to 60 days. On the request of President Rodrigo Duterte, Congress extended martial law until December 31.
A day after the deaths of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute in October, Duterte declared Marawi liberated from the influence of terrorists, allowing the government to shift its focus to rehabilitating the city.
Some sectors have asked Duterte to lift martial law now that security forces have eliminated the terrorist leaders.
But the military said martial law was still needed to curb terrorist networks in other parts of Mindanao like Basilan and Sulu.
On November 18, Malacañang said it accepted the recommendation of the military on the possible extension of martial law in Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte however has yet to decide on the matter.
“You know, the declaration of martial law is always dependent on what the Armed Forces and the police recommends. They are the two entities that would be relied upon heavily by a president or head of states when we entertain something like extreme measures, martial law, state of emergency,” Duterte said.