PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, July 25, said he was amenable to the proposal of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to further extend the martial law declaration in Mindanao for another year.
Duterte made the pronouncement during the inauguration of the Candon City By-pass Road in Ilocos Sur.
In his speech, the President said he would not hesitate to seek the extension of martial rule in Mindanao if that is the only solution to thwart terror acts in the region.
"Si Esperon pati kay... Siguro Mindanao (Perhaps, for Esperon, Mindanao) and the... You know, Mindanao continues to be a problem. I am not advocating for any continuance of the martial law," Duterte told the audience.
"But if the local government units, the governors, mayors and even congressmen, would find that it would be to the best interest of the Filipino in Mindanao, I would not hesitate to say yes," he added.
Duterte's remark came a day after Esperon proposed another one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao due to the unabated terrorism that continues to threaten the people's security and safety.
The promulgation of martial rule in southern Philippines has been extended by Congress thrice upon the President's recommendation.
Duterte first placed Mindanao under military control on May 23, 2017, following the siege of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur by the Maute extremists.
Martial law in Mindanao is set to expire on December 31 this year.
The President admitted that despite the martial law declaration in Mindanao, terror groups who pledged fealty to international terror group Islamic State (IS) have continued to pose a threat to the country.
"We have the IS [of Iraq and Syria]. Now, ‘yung (the) Abu Sayyaf, Maute, they are all ISIS. They have pledged allegiance to a very corrupt and empty and stupid religious ideology. They do nothing but kill and destroy," Duterte said.
"‘Yan ang mahirap sa itong mga g**** ‘to (That's our problem when it comes to these stupid people). And they cut off the heads of my soldiers, decapitate the mga pulis mahuli nila and ayon ‘yung mga civilians pati ‘yung na-kidnap nila na mga foreigners (decapitate the police and civilians, including foreigners, they kidnapped)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)