MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines will not tolerate human rights abuses during the expanded martial law in Mindanao, said Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
Aside from the complaints and reports that may be forwarded to the Commission on Human Rights, Guerrero said the military also has a mechanism to check on the discipline of soldiers "to make sure they are accountable and they answer for any misdeeds."
"We have seen that the AFP has been faithful and committed in the performance of its mandate, especially in the protection of human rights, observance of law and our commitment to ensure peace and security in our communities," he told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.
Lawmakers approved Wednesday President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year to quell the threat of terrorism.
Duterte placed the restive south, home to 22 million people, under military rule after Islamic State sympathizers attacked Marawi last May 23. On his request, lawmakers in July extended martial law until December 31.
The President said the congressional approval provides the government a “big window” in its fight against terrorism in Mindanao.
Guerrero said the public should expect intensified operations against these security threats, especially in areas where suspected communist rebels are located.
"In other parts, particularly in NPA-affected areas, they can expect more of the actions that are being taken by the military, siguro mas intensified lang yung scope and coverage," he said.
"They can expect more of patrols, checkpoints, especially in population centers kasi ang habol natin is to establish visibility saka presence...to deter terrorist actions," he added.