After Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, it is now the turn of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to support the proposal to end martial law in Mindanao.
“We concur with the DND that the purpose of martial law has been attained based on the assessment of military and police forces as normalcy has returned to the entire region and the peace and order situation in the area has remarkably improved since the Marawi Siege of 2017,” Año said.
The DILG chief believes during the period when military rule was being implemented in the region, security forces had “significantly degraded” the forces of local terrorists in the area.
“Our local government units, through their respective local peace and order councils from the regional down to the barangay level, are also now more engaged and are actively working with their counterparts in the security sector to carry out peace and security measures in Mindanao,” Año noted.
The former head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also said terminating martial law would boost the economy as it will bring in more local and foreign investments, as well as increase tourist arrivals in the region.
Even without martial law in Mindanao, security forces will continue to maintain its strong presence in the region through sustained security operations, offensives and checkpoints, according to Año.
Lorenzana, on Wednesday, submitted a recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte not to extend martial law in Mindanao once its third extension lapses by the end of the year.
“The Department of National Defense, based on the assessment conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, has recommended to the President not to extend martial law in Mindanao when it expires on 31 December 2019. The recommendation was submitted to Malacañang today (Wednesday),” Lorenzana pointed out.
“The AFP believes that the Maute Group and other threat groups can no longer launch a Marawi-type attack as their forces and capabilities have significantly dwindled,” Lorenzana said.
Aside from this, the DND chief said significant strides in combating insurgency have been achieved with three Guerilla Fronts and three Pulang Bagani Command cleared and dismantled, respectively.