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AFP ‘more likely’ to urge extending martial law in Mindanao — spokesperson


The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is inclined to recommend the extension of the state of martial law in Mindanao beyond its scheduled deadline of December 31, 2018, the spokesperson for the military said Wednesday.

"More likely, the AFP will recommend its extension," Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said, adding that some local government units in the region have even issued resolutions for its continuous implementation.

Asked when the AFP will give its recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte, however, Arevalo said that there is no schedule for it yet.

The proposed span of the extension has also yet to be determined—should it be recommended—through stakeholders' consultations currently being undertaken.

Arevalo said that the military's implementation of martial law recognizes human rights and existing laws.

"We enforce it with adherence to existing laws at so far wala tayong nakukuhang dokumentadong mga reklamo," he said.

AFP chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said that extending martial law in Mindanao would be a "practical" thing to do given the coming electoral and political exercises in southern Philippines.

This reasoning was questioned by Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas, who said that "practicality" is not included as a reason for martial law in the Constitution. "Practicality as basis of extension is nothing but a desecration of the constitution, which this administration is so fond of doing," she said.

Last week, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a former AFP Chief of Staff, also said he favors extending martial law in Mindanao. 

Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, the same day the Maute group began its attack on Lanao del Sur's capital city Marawi. The state of martial law in the region was then only supposed to last for 60 days.

On July 22, 2017, the day before martial law in the region was supposed to be lifted, Congress voted to extend it instead until the end of 2017.

On December 13, 2017, Congress approved the President's request to extend martial law in Mindanao a second time, this time until December 31, 2018. — Dona Magsino/BM, GMA News

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