MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) supports martial law extension in Mindanao, said its spokesman on Friday, December 8.
Major General Restituto Padilla, while stressing he himself has not seen the military’s recommendation submitted to Malacañang, said the AFP wants an extension to address security threats persisting in Mindanao after the Marawi siege.
The AFP thus supports the Philippine National Police’s recommendation for martial law extension.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is a recommendation to similarly support the recommendation of the PNP but I’m not privy to the report,” he said at a Malacañang press briefing.
Padilla said he does not know the length of time recommended by the AFP for martial law extension. The PNP proposed a one-year extension in Mindanao.
However, Padilla said the military also wants the extended martial law confined to Mindanao.
“It is for the Mindanao area,” he said.
Asked why the AFP wants an extension of military rule in the region, Padilla said terrorists who survived military offensives in Marawi “still remain a threat though their capability is degraded.”
Some, he said, are still at large and are now recruiting – through cash rewards in some cases – more members in preparation for future attacks.
Padilla said they are targeting students, children, women, and relatives of terrorists who were killed by government forces in Marawi.
To fears among the public about martial law extension, Padilla gave assurances the military will not abuse the power given to them if Duterte goes with the AFP and PNP recommendation.
“If there were any serious offenses by the military we’re open to an investigation…We are a transparent organization we abide by human rghts, we respect human rights,” he said.
Martial law in Mindanao is set to expire on December 31. If Duterte were to follow the recommendation of the police and military, he will have to ask Congress to approve the extension. – Rappler.com