MANILA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine security authorities need more time to make assessment on whether or not to lift the martial law in Mindanao in the southern Philippine region, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.
At a news conference at the Malacanang presidential palace, Lorenzana said security officials have yet to make the necessary assessment to be able to decide whether the time has come to lift martial law.
"We'll wait for a couple of weeks more so that we will see the real picture. We don't have yet the necessary information to recommend the continuation or not of martial law," Lorenzana said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law for 60 days on the island of Mindanao and nearby island provinces after clashes broke out last May 23 between the army and militants linked to self-styled Islamic State (IS) in Marawi City.
The militants had occupied a hospital and a jail, and burnt down buildings, including a Roman Catholic church, prompting government to launch a military offensive, including aerial bombings to flush out the heavily-armed militants.
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