TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that the proposed five-year extension of martial law by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is "too long" as they believed that security challenges could be addressed and normalized earlier than that.
The 10th ID deputy commander Bienvenido Datuin on Tuesday, July 11, said that he agreed with AFP spokesperson Restituto Padilla's statement that the extension of martial law until the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term by 2022 would be just too long.
The Presidential Proclamation 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao will end on July 22, which is its 60th day under the constitution.
"We believe that it can be done at a much earlier time but no time frames or whatsoever," Datuin said.
He added that the suggestion is only based on the personal opinion of Alvarez to combat terrorism and insurgency threat as the troops on the ground would still be the one who will determine whether it's time to recommend the lifting of martial law depending on the situation in Marawi City.
The President declared martial law last May 23 after the Maute Terror Group attacked Marawi City and hostilities escalated. The armed conflict is nearing its second month.
Police Regional Office-Davao Regional Director Manuel Gaerlan, for his part, said that they will abide by whatever decision of the commander-in-chief.
He vowed to continued supporting the AFP and the government in maintaining the peace and order in Mindanao.
"Our constitution gives our congressmen the power to extend the martial law if requested by the commander-in-chief," he said.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 12, 2017.
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