MANILA, Philippines – Echoing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has also recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte not to seek another extension of martial law in Mindanao, which will lapse on December 31.
In a statement sent to reporters on Thursday, December 5, Año said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) "supports the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) not to extend the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao after it expires on December 31 this year."
"T]he 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 added.
Why this matters: With Año and Lorenzana's recommendations, the President now has two of his most trusted top security officials recommending the end of martial law in Mindanao that was declared on May 23, 2017.
Año, as military chief at the time, was the administrator of martial law in Mindanao. The declaration and implementation of martial law has been fiercely contested by the Duterte administration's critics, calling it too extreme and that it would only lead to military abuses reminiscent of Marcos Martial Law.
A former intelligence chief, Año reported that the police and military have "significantly degraded" the forces of the notorious Maute group and other threat groups. He added that local government leaders have become more proactive in promoting security. Nonetheless, Año said the police and military will continue to maintain a "strong presence" in the region. – Rappler.com