Defense chief submits martial law recommendation to Duterte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 17 2017 12:49 AM | Updated as of Jul 17 2017 07:56 AM

Soldiers partol the gate of the Marawi City Hall. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

President Rodrigo Duterte is poised to make a decision regarding whether or not to extend martial law in Mindanao. 

On Saturday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that he has already submitted to Malacañang his recommendation, which included inputs from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The defense chief added the President has a "lot to consider" ahead of the 60-day martial law period, which ends on July 22. 

Lorenzana refused to give additional details so as not to "pre-empt" any announcement, but maintained that he will "fully trust" the President's judgment. 

"We will have to wait for the President's final decision on the matter," he said. 

The entire Mindanao has been under martial rule since May 23 following clashes between government forces and the Maute group. The basis of the declaration was challenged before the Supreme Court, but the high tribunal upheld its constitutionality in a majority decision. 

As of July 9, the death toll in the Marawi crisis has already breached 500 with at least 379 terrorists, 89 soldiers and 39 civilians killed.

Lorenzana, who was also designated as chairperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi to rebuild and rehabilitate Marawi, acknowledged that the work ahead after the fighting is even more daunting considering the extent of damage wrought into the city.

“There is still a lot of work to do but I am very confident that together, as one nation, we can all help Marawi rise up from the ashes of conflict and be a better place," Lorenzana added.