Palace: No clear timeline for lifting martial law
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Saturday, June 17, they cannot provide a clear timeline yet for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, even as it reports that Maute resistance in Marawi City continues to dwindle.
"Hindi po natin binibigyan ng timeline iyan, ang ating pong indicator there, na kung safe na po talaga ang ating publiko," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Saturday, June 17. (We are not giving that a timeline, our indication there is when the public is already safe.)
Abella said on Saturday that military troops continue to recover and regain control of strategic vantage points in Marawi City, on the 25th day of clashes there since the army launched a surgical strike to capture Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. (READ: The day Marawi died)
"We also take cognizance that enemy resistance continues to dwindle and enemy-held areas continue to grow smaller as the troops advance," Abella said.
"However po, nandiyan pa rin po iyong compounding development na sinasabi natin na ang paggamit ng mga civilian bilang mga human shield at saka mosques in staging areas and safe havens," Abella added. (However, there is still the compounding development of civilians being used as human shields and mosques [used] as staging areas and safe havens.)
Asked whether the dwindling enemy resistance means that martial law in Mindanao would be lifted soon, Abella said it would depend on public safety.
"As far as the policy concern po…the executive branch is for it to end as soon as possible. However po ang bottom line po ng martial law is public safety as mandated by the Constitution," Abella said.
(As far as the policy is concerned, the executive branch is really for it to end as soon as possible. However, the bottom line of martial law is public safety as mandated by the Constitution.)
Abella added that they respect the opinion of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Friday that if it were up to him, he would extend martial law to 2022 to address the security threats in Mindanao. Alvarez said he was speaking only for herself, and not for Congress.
The Supreme Court (SC) will issue a decision on or before July 5 on the validity of President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation of martial law in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
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