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Mindanao martial law extension an ‘option’ following Sultan Kudarat blast — Medialdea

The extension of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao is still an "option" following the bombing incident in a Sultan Kudarat town on Tuesday night that left two people and injured 37 others.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea made the statement after attending the deliberations for the 2019 budget of the Office of the President at the House of Representatives.

"It's an option," Medialdea told reporters in an ambush interview.

"We're trying to make it as easy as possible na walang ano. But kung ganito pa rin ang nangyari, anong gagawin natin? Upo lang tayo diyan?" he added.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque echoed Medialdea’s statement.

"That’s ES speaking. [We share the] same view," Roque said in a text message.

President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23 last year placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law after the ISIS-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.

Both houses of Congress jointly extended the declaration twice, and is expected to terminate until December 31 this year.

On Tuesday night, a bomb went off in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat in the middle of a town festival, resulting in the deaths of two people and the wounding of dozens others.

Medialdea said this incident only showed that terrorist groups are very much present in Mindanao.

"Yung mga signs na ganito hindi maganda yan e. Lives in danger na lang. Piyesta, pasasabugan lang. How would you feel?" he said.

Isulan police chief Superintendent Celestino Daniel said they have yet to find evidence which could show the involvement of the ISIS in the Sultan Kudarat blast.  — with Virgil Lopez/RSJ/KG, GMA News