AS the 60-day effectivity of martial law in Mindanao will lapse on July 22, the military ground commanders have submitted their assessment on whether to extend or end it for the region, a spokesman for the armed forces has said.
Without going into the details, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said on Saturday that their reports were submitted to AFP Chief Eduardo Año who sent it on Friday to the Department of National Defense (DND) after reviewing them and providing his own inputs.
“The Chief of Staff of the AFP submitted it to the Secretary of National Defense [on Friday]. He (Año) had [the assessment]middle of this week,” he told reporters in a text message on Saturday.
Padilla had said that the assessment was in its “finishing stages” and would be ready for submission to the AFP chief, the implementor of martial law.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the martial law administrator, will further review the recommendation before forwarding it to President Rodrigo Duterte as the commander-in-chief.
“It would be better and more prudent to just wait for the final the decision of the commander-in-chief,” said Padilla when pressed on the recommendation.
It can be recalled that Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao on May 23 was prompted by an “act of rebellion” by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group, which was pushing for the establishment of a calpihate to be headed by acknowledged leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Efforts by the military to arrest Hapilon in Marawi failed as his supporters retaliated by laying siege to the city.
As of Saturday, the military placed the number of troops killed in Marawi at 93; the enemies, 399; recovered firearms, 502; rescued civilians, 1,723; civilians killed by local terrorist group (LTG), 45; and cleared buildings, 15.
The “LTG” is a code used by the military in its updates on Marawi as referring to the Maute although in other situations, it may also refer to the Abu Sayyaf. DEMPSEY REYES