Government offensives in Marawi City will enter its eighth week on Tuesday, July 11, but the terrorists who have pledged allegiance to global terrorist network Islamic State have shown no signs of giving up despite relentless bombings and ground operations of state troops.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported Monday that as of Saturday evening, 367 terrorists have been killed and 367 firearms recovered from them.
The DND chief issued this statement following remarks of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that he will push for the five-year extension of Martial Law.
The Filipino military said on Tuesday that as many as 500 people have been killed in the battle for the city, with 381 of them believed to be IS-linked fighters. "As the war dragged on, we were told by the leader, Isnilon Hapilon, to get out of Marawi so that if they die, we the younger ones would still be able to continue the fight", Abdul added.
They then cited several biblical passages on love of God and neighbor before urging action in showing solidarity with those who have fled Marawi and those who have been taken hostage.
Asked about the probability of gaining approval from Congress should Duterte seek an extension, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said there is a high possibility that the military rule would be confined only to Lanao del Sur and not the entire Mindanao.
"Extending martial law is the decision of the president which PRRD said would rest on the assessment and the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders of the Marawi situation", said a statement from the palace.
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Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said the extension of martial law in Mindanao was merely Alvarez's "personal opinion", but he disagrees with it.
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.
"It could be submitted next week or before the 60-day period [of martial law in Mindanao] ends", he added. What were achieved, then we measure this based on the goals from the start when martial law was declared.
This is in the face of Alvarez's insistence that there is a swell tide of favorable sentiment toward continuing martial law. Personally, I'm not inclined to have a protracted martial law.
The President declared martial law last May 23 after the Maute Terror Group attacked Marawi City and hostilities escalated.
He said the main consideration is "whether we have reestablished the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao".