|Philippines President Duterte|
By Edith Regalado and Christina Mendez
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte is likely to extend martial law in Mindanao beyond the 60-day period as clashes between government forces and Islamic militants in Marawi City continue.
On Friday, Duterte said he would only lift martial rule, which is to expire on July 22, if the military and police tell him the danger posed by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists has abated.
“Pag sinabi nila wala nang delikado (If they say it’s no longer dangerous) and everything is OK, then that is the time that we will lift martial law,” Duterte said, referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
“So, I have just to rely on the word of the Armed Forces and the police because they are the ones keeping this republic healthy and alive,” he said.
Based on latest information he received from the police and the military, Duterte said the situation in Marawi City remains critical.
“I consulted them and they said it was critical,” he said, emphasizing it is only the military and the police who can tell him if things have improved or not.
But he said the offensive against the militants is winding down in Marawi City, which was attacked by hundreds of gunmen waving Islamic State (IS)-style black flags on May 23. Scores of gunmen are still holding hostages and continuing to fight in four areas of the city, the military said.
Lawmakers are urging Duterte to inform them officially of his intention – if there is any – to lift or extend martial law before he delivers his first State of the Nation Address before Congress on July 24.
Read the full story at PhilStar