MANILA- Martial law is still needed in Mindanao even now that the conflict in Marawi City is over, Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said Wednesday.
Speaking to DZMM radio, Gandamra said he welcomes the continued implementation of martial law in Mindanao since security and law and order have yet to be stabilized in the city.
"For as long as it is needed [I am okay with martial law], alam naman po natin kung kailan kailangan i-lift," he said.
"Hindi pa na-stabilize iyong security at law and order sa ating siyudad although na-liberate na po... I think kailangan pa rin ng presence ng ating security forces," he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had on Monday announced the end of combat operations between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists in Marawi City.
Unless terminated early, martial rule in Mindanao is expected to remain in effect until the end of the year, per Congress' extension of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration.
Duterte had placed all of Mindanao under a 60-day martial rule on May 23, when firefights between state forces and Islamic State-linked terrorists broke out.
The legislature granted his request for an extension on July 22, just as his initial declaration lapsed.
Gandamra explained that while the war is over, there may still be some remaining sympathizers, making martial law still necessary.
He said authorities will monitor the implementation of martial law to ensure that there will be no human rights abuses.
"Babantayan po natin na hindi magkaroon ng abuses. I think ang sundalo natin ngayon ay more professional with all due respect to the past," he added.