Martial law to remain in Southern Philippines

Tent

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque said if the President would decide to extend martial law in the south, he hoped it wouldn't be for long because he said it would not be good for the country's image.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao, officially setting aside the opposition's bid to overturn it.

"The communist rebels also denounced the intensified offensives by state forces against leftist fighters amid the military rule, adding that sustained aerial bombardments in Marawi "(have) been proven a failure".

A spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday said extending martial law in Mindanao for 5 years may be too long but said the final decision will be up to the political leadership.

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"I can not give you a categorical answer because the assessment for the extension of martial law is still being undertaken and we have not finished this yet", Padilla told a press briefing at the Palace on Monday.

As martial law is expected to end its effect on July 22 as provided by law, Alvarez said that it is through Martial Law that rebellion crisis and other related problems in Mindanao could be addressed.

The speaker was quoted in a July 9 Inquirer report saying he would gather support from legislators at the lower House to extend Martial Law until 2022, the year President Rodrigo Duterte finishes his term.

Ejercito earlier pointed out that since there have been no atrocities or any human rights violations committed since the imposition of martial law, "it will be easier to justify (its) extension if needed".

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Padilla said the government would initially provide tents to the Marawi evacuees, and then build a "single detached cottage" for every family member as temporary shelter.

In fact, he said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is finalizing the preparation for the deployment of "well-experienced" engineers for its Engineering Units to help in the rehabilitation process particularly in the restoration of public infrastructures such as school building, mosques, multi-purpose centers, farm-to-market roads and health centers, among others. They will assess whether or not military operations in Marawi have been effective.

They said life is better now.

Mr. Padilla said troops are still pursuing 80 to 100 militants in the war-torn city, among them, hostages coerced to fight and foreign combatants who have joined forces with the Maute terrorists. In a daily briefing on July 10, the military reported that more than 450 terrorists, 39 civilians, and 89 military and police personnel have been killed in the siege, which shows no sign of abating despite military claims that the militants have been confined to a small area and reduced to less than 100 fighters.

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