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1st LD Writethru: Philippine military recommends a year extension of martial law in S. Philippines

Xinhua,December 07, 2017 Adjust font size:

MANILA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in the southern Philippine Mindanao region for another year, a military official said on Thursday.

A highly-placed military officer who requested anonymity told reporters the AFP high command wants Duterte to extend martial law until December 2018.

According to the officer, the ground commanders' recommendation to AFP chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero is to extend the martial law.

"Most of them (ground commanders) said they need martial law at this time," the officer said, adding that it would be easier to neutralize the terrorists if the region is under martial rule.

Moreover, the officer said martial law is needed "to finally end" the problem of terrorism and violent extremism in that region.

The officer added that pro-Islamic State (IS) groups have continued to recruit members even after the Marawi siege has ended.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has not made any statement regarding the AFP recommendation. Spokesman for the defense department Arsenio Andolong said he has not yet seen the recommendation.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a 60-day martial law in the southern region in May when Islamist extremists laid siege to Marawi City, triggering a five month war between government security forces and pro-IS militants.

Fierce fighting broke out as Philippine forces retake the city from the clutches of the militants, prompting Duterte to ask Congress in July to extend the military rule to Dec. 31, 2017.

Philippine legislators voted overwhelmingly to extend the martial law until Dec. 31, 2017 to give more time to crush the insurgents and destroy their terror network that plans to establish a caliphate in the southern Philippine region.

The government finally gained control of Marawi in October. More than 1,200 people were killed in the battle to retake the city, reducing the city into rubbles.

Duterte plans to ask Congress to extend the martial rule when the government reconstructs and rehabilitates the ruined city. Enditem