Martial-law extension a must to curb terror sympathizers

Senator Richard J. Gordon

Fariñas said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea texted him the news on Sunday.

Interior Undersecretary Catalino Cuy said Friday the national police wants martial law, which expires on December 31, to be extended by President Rodrigo Duterte to allow it to continue offensives against Muslim militants who eluded capture during a five-month siege of southern Marawi city.

Hilbay reminded the only reason martial law was declared was the Maute attack on Marawi City which began way back in May.

Duterte placed the restive region of 22 million people under military rule on May 23 after Islamist militants took over parts of the southern Marawi City in what was the Philippines' biggest security crisis in years.

The former Solicitor General expressed fears that extending martial law over Mindanao might lead to a nationwide imposition of martial law.

President Duterte wants martial law in Mindanao extended for one more year.

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Congress will only be in session until Wednesday before it adjourns for its Christmas break until January 14, 2018. A damaged mosque with holes blasted out of its dome is seen in the battle-scarred Marawi on October 19, two days after President Duterte declared the liberation of the city from militants.

Earlier, Malacañang officials said Duterte had received the recommendations of the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to extend martial law in Mindanao.

"We will have to discuss it with our Senate counterparts", Fariñas said.

"So I think this will help curb their activities on the ground and if we don't have martial law, it will be very hard (to implement) the rehabilitation of Marawi and the other war-torn areas", Andolong explained. "There is a threat, in terms of seriousness ... it is relative in different areas but yes, there are still threats, [the threat] is there, it is credible", he added. Martial law is due to expire on December 31.

Lobregat said Congress will also have to tackle the duration of the martial law extension.

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