MANILA (UPDATED) – Malacañang is set to ask Congress for an additional budget to fund the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) offensives against Islamic State-linked terrorist groups in Marawi City, where firefights have raged on for two months now.
Facing a joint session of Congress Saturday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said President Rodrigo Duterte is set to provide for the use of a supplemental budget for the AFP.
Medialdea was responding to a query from House Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez on whether the AFP’s third quarter budget was already depleted because of the long-drawn conflict.
The Palace is set to write official requests for both houses of Congress to adopt the use of the supplemental budget.
'NO MILITARY TAKEOVER'
Replying to questions from Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin on whether martial law can negatively affect conflict mediation in Mindanao given upcoming discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Medialdea said: "Theoretically they (military) can [take over], but they are not doing it."
Medialdea faced Congress Saturday morning to justify Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year to address the Marawi crisis.
Firefights in the city, which erupted between state forces and terrorists on May 23, have left at least 571 dead and displaced roughly 300,000 from the city and nearby areas.
The protracted fighting has required the military to replenish its arsenal earlier this month.