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Military: 5-year martial law extension too long

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling, Francis T. Wakefield, and AP

The military does not seem to support the five-year extension of martial law in Mindanao proposed by House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez to deal with the lingering threat of terrorism and insurgency in the South.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said he does not know the basis of Alvarez for his proposal but believes such timeframe might be “too long.”

Rep Pantaleon Alvarez after press briefing in a hotel in Pasay city.Alvarez said death penalty should impose to reduce criminality in the county(photo by ali vicoy)

Rep Pantaleon Alvarez after press briefing in a hotel in Pasay city.Alvarez said death penalty should impose to reduce criminality in the county(photo by ali vicoy)

“Actually, five years may be too long for the moment,” Padilla said during the “Mindanao Hour” briefing in Malacañang yesterday.

For now, Padilla said, the military has started to conduct an assessment of the security situation and would submit its recommendation on whether or not to extend martial law to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “in a few days.”

The assessment includes whether or not the troops have accomplished the mission given when martial law was declared by President Duterte.

Lorenzana, the administrator of martial law in Mindanao, will then submit such report to Duterte for his decision, he said.

“The Armed Forces, before it makes its recommendation to the commander-in-chief, must have enough basis – an intelligent basis – to make whatever recommendations there is for the extension or the lifting,” Padilla said.

“Our primary basis is whether we have accomplished the operational objectives that have been given to us at the very beginning of martial law,” he said.

He said the main consideration is “whether we have reestablished the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao.”

So far, Padilla said, the military has been able to thwart the Maute terror group from launching a larger scale attack in Marawi City. He said security forces have also been deployed to prevent a spillover of the Marawi fighting to other parts of Mindanao.

Padilla said 379 Maute Group members have been killed in the fighting that started May 23. Eighty-nine soldiers and 39 civilians were also killed in Marawi.

More than 1,700 civilians were rescued by soldiers, local government units, and civil society organizations in Marawi.

Meanwhile, Indonesian police said yesterday that a man whose home-made bomb accidentally exploded in the West Java city of Bandung was obsessed with the idea of joining the Maute Group in Marawi.

West Java police spokesman Yusri Yunus said that Agus Wiguna, 21, was arrested following the explosion on Saturday at his rented house and was probably acting alone.

Yunus said a written document found in the house showed Agus’ pledge of allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He said that Wiguna learned about IS and how to assemble a bomb from the Internet.

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