Philippines: President urged to extend martial law
The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces are both recommending the president extend martial law on the island of Mindanao, the scene of fierce government fighting against Daesh-linked militants for nearly two months.
Police chief Ronald dela Rosa told reporters on Monday that last Friday they submitted "position papers expressing their stand on the extension of the martial law," which began on May 23, but did not say how long the extension would be.
He said that the extension was meant not only to flush out the remaining militants in Marawi, but also to jail politicians who are involved in the illegal drug trade and support terrorists.
"We still have to account for the identified narco-politicians who we believe are supporting the cause of the Maute group who are still at large," Dela Rosa was quoted by Philippine Star online as saying.
President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao island on May 23 following the siege laid by the Daesh-linked Maute group in the city of Marawi.
The military rule is set to lapse on July 22.
The crisis in Marawi, now on its 56th day, has a death toll so far of 537: 399 militants, 93 government troops, and 45 civilians.
Defense chief and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana confirmed submission of the recommendation to the presidential office, which includes input from both the police and military.
Lorenzana declined to give details of the recommendation, saying the president has much to consider.
"We will have to wait for the president's final decision on the matter," Lorenzana was quoted by ABS-CBN news as saying.
In a recent statement, Duterte did not indicate the need to extend martial law but said he needs two more weeks to end the crisis in Marawi.