Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday said Malacañang is “optimistic” that Congress will approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao till the end of the year.
The Palace official made the statement ahead of Saturday’s special joint session of Congress where lawmakers will discuss and vote on the President’s request to extend his martial law proclamation.
President Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao last May 23 and the 60-day period, as provided in the Constitution, will lapse on Saturday.
“Of course, we will depend on the decision of the Lower House and the Upper House. So once they decide on Saturday, then we can just cross the bridge (when we get there). But we are optimistic,” Andanar said in a television interview.
He said the five-month extension of martial law was decided upon based on the assessment of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the situation in Marawi City.
He said the extension is necessary to avoid the terror threat from spilling over to other areas of the Philippines and even beyond its borders.
“The Maute/ISIS threat is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed before it spreads to other provinces in Mindanao. We also need to do this to prevent it from spreading to other regions outside the Philippines like Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia,” the Presidential Communications Secretary said.
“Kailangang matuldukan na ito para mas makakaarangkada na po iyong ating bansa, lalong lalo na ang Mindanao, nang tuluyan,” Andanar added. (Cielito M. Reganit/PNA)