MANILA – After the Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police (PNP) also said the martial law in Mindanao may not need to be extended for the fourth time.
PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said Tuesday the crime rate in Mindanao has declined and security forces are able to control the proliferation of loose firearms in the area.
“Sa ngayon, nakikita natin na maaari na rin talagang tanggalin ang martial law sa Mindanao,” Banac said. “Mananatili lamang mataas ang alert level doon sa bahagi ng Sulu.”
Banac, however, said that PNP’s final recommendation on the matter will be known by December but said that heightened alert status is still needed in some parts of the island.
According to Banac, the security officials have yet to discuss the matter of implementing martial law in selected areas in the region as suggested by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that he is not keen to recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2019.
The defense chief said the enactment of a stronger law amending Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007 is a better option than martial law extension.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Islamic State-linked Maute Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
It has since been in effect after Congress, in special joint sessions, voted to approve its extension thrice — from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2017; from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018; and from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019./PN