Martial law lifting depends on Mindanao situation

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President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense’s (DND) recommendation on the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Sunday.

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“He (Duterte) said he will await our recommendation. Will I recommend its lifting? We’ll see. It depends on a lot of factors,” Lorenzana told reporters in a text message.

He came up with the statement after Duterte mentioned during his fifth visit in Marawi City last Thursday that he will be lifting martial law in Mindanao once the clashes in Marawi has ended.

Lorenzana, the martial law administrator, cited factors that will be considered if martial law should be lifted.

“First: what does the Mindanaoans want? For now, we are getting an overwhelming support for martial [law]and even its further extension. Second; it will also depend on the security situation in Mindanao especially in Marawi,” he said.

The Defense chief noted that authorities will also consider the possibility that the crisis in Marawi City will spill over in some areas in Mindanao and if the Maute group has the capability “to launch similar attacks.”

The third factor is if martial law would be needed to rehabilitate Marawi City.

Lorenzana said the Defense department is yet to determine whether martial law would help in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi City.

“We’ll see on the next developments. But suppose the people of Marawi request that [martial law]is extended while they are sorting out their lives and the challenges of relocation and rehabilitation,” he said.

Duterte declared a Mindanao-wide martial law on May 23 after gunmen of the Islamic State (IS)-linked Maute group took control of Marawi City.

AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año, meanwhile, has said the lifting of martial law will be based on the President’s decision.

“The lifting of martial law will be the prerogative of the President,” he added.

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