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President to lift martial law once Marawi is safe

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte is mulling the lifting of martial law in Mindanao once government troops have completed their clearing operations in Marawi City and thwarted any spillover elsewhere.

In his return visit to the besieged city last Thursday, the President said the troops are still clearing the area of explosives “hidden and planted” by the Maute rebels to ensure the safety of residents once they return to the conflict-torn city.

“It will be lifted anytime after things are all ready. There’s a cleanup and we can make sure that it doesn’t end with the physical fighting,” Duterte said about the martial law proclamation he imposed last May 23 on Mindanao.

“There’s much to be done like rebuilding Marawi and of course getting rid of remaining explosives which are hidden or planted along the way. It’s not really for us but for the people of Marawi to give them protection,” he said.

The government must also ensure there would be no spillover of the Marawi fighting in other parts of the region, according to the President.

“The catch word is when it’s safe here in Mindanao. There is no spillage…as long as it remains manageable and the police can take care of it,” Duterte said.

“I have to clean the place and watch out if there will be a spillover of any sympathetic group that would initiate trouble again,” he added.

The President issued Proclamation No. 216 imposing a 60-day martial law in Mindanao last May 23 aimed to quell lawless violence and rebellion. The rebellion, launched by the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group, was fueled by drug money and foreign terror support.