Esperon plans to propose one-year extension of Martial Law in Mindanao

Published July 23, 2019, 6:31 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is prepared to listen to the recommendation of the country’s security officials amid reports about the proposed one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao, Malacañang said Tuesday.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon during the Senate joint committee hearing on the maritime scientific studies conducted in the Philippine Rise on Monday. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

“If that is their recommendation, di ba the President always says the man on the ground, he will listen to them, kasi sila ang nakaka-alam noon [because they know the situation there],” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. earlier announced plans to recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year to address lingering security threats. Esperon, a retired military general, is also reportedly open to the proposed lifting of martial in some areas such as Davao City due to improved security situation.

On the proposed lifting of martial law in some areas, Panelo said: “The President will listen to those who are knowledgeable on the facts existing on the ground.”

Martial law has remained in effect in Mindanao since the Marawi City siege by local terror elements in 2017. The martial law declaration, imposed by the President, has been extended until the end of the year.

In a recent interview with the Manila Bulletin, Panelo explained that martial law has been declared in Mindanao “to maintain the overall peace and security situation in Mindanao where rebellion continues to exist.”

He said the martial law proclamation also aims to accelerate the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

“The President only declared martial law in Mindanao to battle the enemies of the state and make sure that bombings and killings would be not be a daily occurrence,” he said.

“On when martial law would be lifted, PRRD would heed the recommendation of the members of his security cluster,” he added.