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AFP, PNP to recommend Mindanao martial law extension

Rambo Talabong

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AFP, PNP to recommend Mindanao martial law extension
'There is really a clamor for the extension considering that the terrorism is still lurking in the area,' says Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Carlito Galvez Jr

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will recommend extending martial law in Mindanao.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, December 3, military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr said they have yet to submit the formal recommendation, but they will prescribe one more year of martial law for Mindanao.

“For now, that’s our recommendation that will be submitted to the secretary of national defense and then most probably this conference, this coming [December] 12 with the new chief of staff. We will be presenting the recommendation,” Galvez, who is retiring on December 12, said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said in a Camp Crame press briefing on Monday that their stand has not changed: they are for another martial law extension in Mindanao. He could not recall when asked for the length of the recommended extension.

Why does this matter? President Rodrigo Duterte has been waiting for the recommendation of the police and the military before he decides to ask Congress for a third extension of martial law in Mindanao.

The AFP and the PNP were given the entire November to survey Mindanaoans on the ground for their sentiments on military rule.

Both agencies have repeatedly said that locals support the measure. The AFP has even compiled statements of local officials backing martial law to bolster its recommendation.

Why the recommendation? Galvez said the threat of terrorism remains in Mindanao, despite enforcing martial law since May 2017—when Islamic State-inspired local terrorists launched an attempt to seize Marawi City.

“Because there is really a clamor for the extension considering that the terrorism is still lurking in the area,” Galvez said, citing back-to-back bombings that rocked Mindanao in August.

Police back the recommendation because they want to easily secure two big events in Mindanao for 2019: the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite in January, and elections in May.

Congress previously extended martial law in Mindanao only until December 31 this year. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.