Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana on Wednesday said martial law in Mindanao is "imperative" even if government troops are capable of containing the Maute terrorist group without the iron-fisted rule.
"The situation currently being dealt with by State security forces goes beyond Marawi City. President Duterte’s imposition of Martial Law aims to put an end to the long running rebellion in various provinces in the south, as evidenced by the incidents that happened in Zamboanga, Davao, Bohol, Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Maguindanao," Lorenzana said in a statement.
The defense chief made the clarification a day after minority senators told reporters that there is no need to declare martial law in Mindanao as security officials assured that the Maute group will be neutralized by next week.
Duterte placed the Muslim-dominated island under martial law last week after Islamic extremists went on a rampage amid a botched military operation against Isnilon Hapilon, a top terrorist leader, in Marawi City.
Palace officials said the death toll has climbed to at least 104 as of May 30.