AFP, PNP to recommend Mindanao martial law extension

Albayalde Galvez Rappler

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will recommend extending martial law in Mindanao.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, December 2, military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr said they have yet to submit the formal recommendation, but they will prescribe one more year of martial law for Mindanao.

“For now, that’s our recommendation that will be submitted to the Secretary of National Defense and then most probably this conference, this coming [December] 12 with the new chief of staff. We will be presenting the recommendation,” Galvez said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said in a Camp Crame press briefing on Monday that their stand has not changed: they are for another martial law extension in Mindanao. He could not recall when asked for the length of the recommended extension.

Why does this matter? President Duterte has been waiting for the recommendation of the police and the military before he decides to ask Congress for the 3rd extension of martial law in Mindanao.

The AFP and the PNP were given the entire November to go on the ground and survey Mindanaoans for their sentiments on military rule.

Both agencies have repeatedly said that locals support the measure. The AFP has even compiled statements of supporting local officials to bolster their recommendation.

Why the recommendation? Galvez said that the threat of terrorism remains in Mindanao, despite enforcing martial law since May 2017—when Islamic State-inspired local terrorists launched an attempt to seize of Marawi City.

“Because there is really a clamor for the extension considering that the terrorism is still lurking in the area,” Galvez said, citing back-to-back bombings that have rocked Mindanao in August.

Police back the recommendation because they want to easily secure two big events in Mindanao for 2019: the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite in January, and elections in May.

The latest approval of Congress has allowed the enforcement of martial law in Mindanao only until December 31. –