Published: Tue, July 11, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Martial law in Mindanao helped neutralize Maute infrastructure - Lorenzana

Martial law in Mindanao helped neutralize Maute infrastructure - Lorenzana

The declaration of martial law in Mindanao may have prompted a sudden decline in Duterte's approval ratings in the region, but the president gained approval in other parts of the country.

"I can not give you a categorical answer because the assessment for the extension of martial law is still being undertaken and we have not finished this yet", Padilla told a press briefing at the Palace on Monday.

The possible extension of martial law in Mindanao will be among the crucial issues to be taken up when President Duterte and senators from the majority bloc meet next week, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said yesterday.

In fact, he said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is finalizing the preparation for the deployment of "well-experienced" engineers for its Engineering Units to help in the rehabilitation process particularly in the restoration of public infrastructures such as school building, mosques, multi-purpose centers, farm-to-market roads and health centers, among others.

Under the 1987 Constitution, there are safeguards against the abuse of martial law, such as a review by Congress and a 60-day limit.

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said of Mr. Alvarez's remarks that the Speaker has "clarified that his remarks to extend martial law until 2022 is his personal opinion".

Padilla said, although he was unaware of where Alvarez was coming from, he admitted declaring or extending martial law would be a political decision.

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Yet the urban warfare, despite being under a regime of martial law, has dragged on for seven weeks - surpassing the three-week siege of Zamboanga City in 2013. "Before it makes a recommendation to the commander-in-chief, the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] must have an intelligent basis to make whatever recommendation there is for extension or lifting".

Voting 11-3-1, members of the High Court sitting in full court last week dismissed the consolidated petitions challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis of Mr. Duterte's martial law declaration.

"Government has trailed it focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi as the defeat of the Maute-ISIS Group looms with the military operations and the cooperation of local government", he added.

Malacañang distanced itself from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez' views to extend the ongoing military rule in Mindanao after he reportedly said he would seek legislative support from his colleagues in Congress.

Government troops continue to fight over 80 terrorists in Marawi City.

They said life is better now.

About 300 civilians, including the terrorists' hostages, remain trapped in the battle zone, preventing state forces from going all-out against the enemies.

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