DAVAO CITY The Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) will recommend the extension of martial law following the positive response from local government officials and ground forces in Mindanao during a series of consultations.
According to the AFP chief of staff, General Carlito Galvez, who expressed confidence in the positive impact of martial law on the economy of Mindanao and the situation of peace and order on the island.
Galvez, who was here on Tuesday to visit the ground commanders of the AFP's Eastern Mindanao Command, said there was a need to extend martial law to sustain their gains and completely defeat terrorism, including the New People's Army (NPA) .
He said the extension is also being sought by local government officials who have recommended that martial law be continued beyond this year.
Asked about the duration of the extension, Galvez replied: "We'll talk later. We will recommend you when we finish the evaluation. We will recommend, we will go with the pulse of the people ".
The AFP chief cited the positive impact of martial law on Mindanao's economy. Only in the Davao region, he said, gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10.9 percent last year, making the region the second fastest growth among the country's 17 regions.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), growth in the Davao region was higher than the 9.5% recorded in 2016.
He also cited tourist arrivals in the Davao region that rose to over 50% before the implementation of martial law. He said that there was also a great improvement in peace and order, particularly for the volume of crime, in Mindanao.
"I am also very happy with the confidence of the people in the military. Comelec (Elections Commission) and the BOC (Bureau of Customs) requested our services, which means their trust in the military, "he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had previously said that the extension of the martial would depend on the recommendation of the AFP. The martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017, following the government's campaign against the siege of Maute militants, inspired by ISIS, in the city of Marawi.
The extension of martial law after the first maturity in June 2017 was granted by Congress at a special joint session in July last year.
In a joint session last December, the Senate and House of Representatives approved the Chief Executive's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the habeas corpus privilege until December 31, 2018. (Lilian C Mellejor / PNA)