DND, AFP laud ML extension in Mindanao

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 13, 2017, 4:40 pm

MANILA -- An affirmation of trust and confidence.

This is how Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described Congress' decision to extend martial law in Mindanao for one year.

"The DND is grateful for this affirmation of trust and confidence from our legislators. The Filipino people can rest assured that we will not squander this opportunity to finally end the continuing rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao by destroying the Daesh (Arabic name for ISIS) structure in the area, thwart like-minded groups from conducting further acts of terrorism and prevent the spillover of violence and radicalism in other parts of the country," he added.

And with the extension, the DND chief expressed confidence that the government can move forward with unhampered reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City.

"The challenges we are facing in Mindanao are also challenges to each and every Filipino. Together, as a nation, we will prevail and prove to the world our collective resilience against odds," Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs Col. Edgard Arevalo said the Congress' decision proves the validity of the military's grounds for seeking martial law extension.

"We see the grant of the extension of ML (Martial Law) as an acknowledgement of the grounds we have cited that need immediate and decisive actions," he added.

“Specifically, we need to quell the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao and prevent its spread to other parts of the country. The military will faithfully perform its mandate to protect the people and secure the state,” he added.

The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session, granted President Rodrigo Duterte's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.

A total of 240 members of Congress voted to approve the resolution of both houses calling for Martial Law extension in Mindanao, while only 27 voted against it. There was no abstention.

A total of 14 senators voted in favor of the motion and four were against it, while 226 House members approved the motion and 23 rejected it.

To recall, Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law last May 23 after Maute Group terrorists laid siege to Marawi City.

Earlier in July, Congress, in a special joint session, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31 this year at the President's request. (PNA)