The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured the people in Mindanao that peace and stability on the island will prevail despite the non-extension of martial law which officially expired at 12 midnight on Dec. 31, 2019.
“Upon the recommendation of the security sector, the President has decided to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday night.
“The security sector believes that the objective of the martial law has been achieved,” he added.
Lorenzana said that the rebellion in Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao “have been effectively stopped.”
“For those who have openly issued statements of support for the extension of martial law, let me assure you that the AFP will continue to safeguard the hard-earned peace and stability in the region,” Lorenzandwa stated.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the military is confident of an “improved security climate” in Mindanao.
Despite the lapse of martial law, Arevalo noted that Proclamation No. 55 is still in effect.
Proclamation No. 55 was signed by President Duterte on September 4, 2016 declaring a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao after militant groups bombed a night market in Davao City on September 2, 2016. The attack killed 15 people and injured at least 70 others.
“Our people can then be assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will deploy to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence to prevent them from spreading and escalating not only in Mindanao but elsewhere in the Philippines,” Arevalo said.
President Duterte first declared the martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 when Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City, Lanao del Sur in an attempt to establish a caliphate in Mindanao.
It ended after two years and seven months or 953 days of effectivity.
Initially, the martial law in Mindanao was only valid for 60 days but Duterte asked the Congress to extend it until the end of 2017.
Since then, two more extensions were granted by the Congress for the entire 2018 and 2019. (Martin Sadongdong)