Martial law 'till 2022? Only speaker's opinion - Palace

11 July, 2017, 00:18 | Author: Elaine Woods
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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said the Constitution is clear that it is Congress that has the power to extend martial law and the President may only recommend.

The President declared martial law in Mindanao after government troops clashed with members of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City on May 23.

The CPP has Duterte's administration of setting a stage for nationwide martial law with his decision last Friday to stall peace talks National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella body that represents communists in the talks.

Duterte, who was forced to cut short a state visit to Russian Federation when fighting broke out in Marawi, potentially courted controversy with his declaration of martial law, a sensitive subject for most Filipinos.

The expected meeting will come five days before the 60-day imposition of martial law expires and ahead of Duterte's second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, when Congress opens its second regular session.

Yet the urban warfare, despite being under a regime of martial law, has dragged on for seven weeks - surpassing the three-week siege of Zamboanga City in 2013.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez made a surprise move this week when he announced that he personally wanted to extend martial law in 2022 or until Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from his role as president.

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"As the troops of the Western Mindanao Command intensify the offensives against the remaining terrorist group in Marawi, government agencies also continue to generate means and programs in order to support the displaced persons in all evacuation centers", he said.

A top lawmaker in the Philippines has called for an extension of martial law in the southern part of the country for up to five years, but the army does not seem to support the extension, calling it "too long".

"Government has trailed it focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi as the defeat of the Maute-ISIS Group looms with the military operations and the cooperation of local government", he added.

Mindanao under martial law will turn on its 60th day on July 22. The country's former dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law in 1972, using the measure to shut down critical media outlets and imprison thousands of dissidents.

They said life is better now. The death toll has breached the 500 mark, with 39 civilians killed, 379 terrorists killed, and 89 government troops killed in action.

"This is a testament of the government's resolve to fully rehabilitate Marawi and help our Maranao brothers and sisters stand and rebuild the city", Galvez said.

"Our efforts on the ground are also focused (on) rescuing civilians who are still trapped".

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