By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Thursday said that he has yet to receive from Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr., an official request to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Lorenzana made the remark after Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said he is in favor of another extension of martial law in Mindanao.
“I have yet to receive the official report/request from the CSAFP,” Lorenzana said.
“I’ll have to see the reason that the AFP will present to extend or not to extend (martial law),” he added.
Año earlier said he got feedback from people in Mindanao who are requesting that military rule be prolonged.
“Para sa ‘kin, (For me) having the feedback from the people of Mindanao, I would rather opt for another extension,” Año said in a chance interview before the awarding ceremony of the Seal of Good Local Governance at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday.
Earlier, Malacañang said that government could extend martial law in Mindanao if it would help maintain the peace and order situation.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recognized the martial law proclamation has so far kept terrorists at bay and maintain peace in the south.
“According to the military, the martial law has helped in the peace and order situation and it has dissuaded the terrorists from inflicting their usual violence against the population,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“If it is helping the population, the population is not even opposing it so to my mind, there is a need to extend it,” he added.
Panelo further explained that there was a need to extend martial law if it would be “helpful in maintaining peace and order.” “Because if it does not, why do you have to maintain it,” he added.
Panelo, however, said the President would still consider the recommendation of the military and police on whether to lift or extend martial law.
“According to the President, that will depend on advice, the recommendation of the military because they are the ones on the ground,” he said.
“The President always heeds the advice, the recommendation of the military and other police forces because they are the ones knowledgeable on the conditions existing there,” he added. (Francis T. Wakefield)