MANILA - Martial law will remain in force in Mindanao, Malacanang said Wednesday, on the first year anniversary of its declaration to suppress the threat of Islamic State-inspired jihadists.
Left-wing lawmakers have called for the lifting of martial rule, citing alleged human rights abuses by government troops.
"One year after the siege, the time to lift martial law is not yet here," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr said. "The Palace would like to assure the public, the moment the need for martial law ceases, it will be lifted."
Human rights group Karapatan said since martial law was declared in Mindanao last year, it has documented at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings, a near weekly death toll.
Roque urged Karapatan to file complaints before the courts.
"Hindi po pwede na palagi lang po salita. Kung may napatay na one [weekly] magsampa ng kaso kasi unfortunately ang legal system natin will not be triggered without a complaint,” he said.
(They cannot just be all talk. If one person is killed weekly, then they should file a case. The legal process won’t be triggered if there is no complaint.)
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law last year after Islamic State-inspired terrorists laid siege on Marawi City.
Five months of fighting left over 1,000 people killed and displaced some 200,000 others. The government has set aside at least P72 billion to rebuild the city.