Martial law 'till 2022? Only speaker's opinion - Palace

Pimentel said a meeting with Duterte was set on July 17 with the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the official agenda.

"It is imbecilic to seek advi (c) e from the AFP whose officers now admit it did not even know the strength of the so-called Maute Group when the AFP laid siege on Marawi", the CPP said.

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.

Opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said on Monday, July 10 that only President Rodrigo Duterte can initiate the extension of Proclamation Number 216, which put Mindanao under martial law since May 23.

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".

"The structure which gives life to this rebellion is not only restricted to Marawi, which was only used by the terrorists as a base to launch its attacks", Padilla said.

Asked for his reaction to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's proposal to extend the martial law proclamation for the rest of the President's term, Padilla said imposing martial law until 2022 "may be too long for the moment".

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Duterte imposed military rule over the region on May 23 after Islamist militants seized the city of Marawi, saying the move was necessary to contain the conflict and prevent other armed groups from taking advantage of the situation.

"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.

'IMBECILIC' For its part, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed the government's "plan" to extend martial law in Mindanao and criticized Mr. Duterte's decision to exclusively rely on the military in deciding when to end the declaration.

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. There were 39 civilians they have mercilessly killed or executed.

About 400,000 civilians from Marawi and outlying areas have also been displaced as a result of the fighting.

Since the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, offensives against the New People's Army also intensified, as manifested by aerial bombardments in communities, the CPP added.

As a prolonged battle with the terrorists is expected, government has started setting up a tent city to accommodate some of the city's displaced residents.

  • Darren Santiago