Military says 5-yr martial law extension may be too long

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"Why are some senators and representatives talking about extending martial law in Mindanao when the President has not even officially initiated such extension?" said Lagman.

Martial law was declared in Mindanao on May 23 as fighting broke out between government troops and the local terror group ISIS-linked Maute in Marawi City.

He said a recommendation will be made to Duterte once the military is satisfied it has flushed out all terrorist elements from the region.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said the extension of martial law in Mindanao was merely Alvarez's "personal opinion", but he disagrees with it.

"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.

New reports earlier quoted Mr. Alvarez as saying he would convince other lawmakers to extend martial law's duration in Mindanao to the remainder of President Rodrigo R. Duterte's term.

It said the government's handling of the ongoing crisis in Marawi is a "failure" and Duterte's reliance on the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police is "absurd".

This was the military's response to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's statement that martial law should be extended for five years, as the 60-day limit looms. This is nothing like the Marcos martial law at all.

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As this develops, Lorenzana said the government is now making plans needed for the the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi City.

The 1987 Constitution has set safeguards on martial law by limiting its enforcement to 60 days and allowing the Supreme Court and Congress to review the proclamation. Martial law, even if warranted, even if there is factual basis for it, is never good for the country...

The military, on Friday, said they will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte as early as this week its recommendations whether to extend the martial law or not.

The military has been having a hard time retaking parts of Marawi still controlled by the terrorists, as snipers from the enemy side still lurk around the conflict zone.

It said at least 5,000 people also evacuated from their communities since May due to AFP operations, while civil and political rights continue to be violated by checkpoints, random searches by AFP soldiers and threats against the right to express views.

"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.

From the original number of forces of about 500, the military said the number of terrorists still holed up in the city is now down to about 80.

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