President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer extend Martial Law in the Mindanao region, as confirmed by presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Wednesday.
“The Office of the President wishes to announce that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not extend martial law in Mindanao upon its expiration on December 31, 2019, ” Panelo announced in a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday.
Panelo said the President’s decision was based on the recommendation of his Defense officials, which was based on a decrease of the regional crime index and lower terrorism level in Mindanao.
The terrorist forces have also weakened because of the arrests and deaths of their leaders and members.
At a forum at the Manila Overseas Press Club in Makati, Lorenzana said he had already submitted a recommendation to the president not to extend martial.
“I just sent my recommendation today to the President recommending the non-extension of martial law in Mindanao,” said Lorenzana.
The martial law in the region is set to expire on December 31, 2019, which has been extended by Congress thrice since 2017.
According to Lorenzana, in today’s situation in Mindanao, it is easier to maintain peace and order.
He said the military and police had already done what martial law should do.
“With the situation there now, I think we can maintain the peace and order and improve it further, make it more peaceful without martial law…Personally, I believe we have achieved our objective,” said the Defense Secretary.
The secretary added that the government is also succeeding today against other terrorist groups in Mindanao, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Duterte, human rights violation and Martial Law in Mindanao
The imposition of Martial Law has been generally peaceful in Davao City and other major cities in Mindanao, except Lanao del Sur and Lumad communities in the eastern and southern provinces.
After three months of its implementation, independent human rights organizations recorded numerous human rights violations. Among these violations are Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police bombing Lumad schools, blocking food supplies in Lumad communities, and killing suspected Lumads who are reportedly part of the NPA despite no detailed investigation.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself voiced his approval on the bombing of Lumad schools through a public speech.
Reports also surfaced that AFP and PNP personnel stole cash and jewelry from Muslim Maranao vaults during and after the Battle of Marawi. Numerous reports of Maranao peoples being harassed, electrocuted, punched, and pointed on with guns also surfaced.