MANILA - The Senate and the House of Representatives have both received President Rodrigo Duterte's letter of request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019, documents from both chambers showed on Monday.
In his letter to Congress, Duterte said certain terrorist groups like the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and Daulah Islamiyah "continue to defy the government by perpetrating hostile activities."
The President also cited several fatal bombings in the south, including the ones in Lamitan City in Basilan, Isulan in Sultan Kudarat, and in General Santos City in the past few months in his request for Mindanao martial law extension.
Duterte said the administration's top security officials have already monitored "significant progress" in the peace and order situation in the region but latest assessment points to the need to continue martial law there.
"Security assessment submitted by the AFP and PNP highlights certain essential facts which indicate that rebellion still persists in Mindanao and public safety requires the continuation of martial law," he said.
Top security officials, including the military and police chiefs, earlier briefed senators in a closed-door meeting on Monday morning about the current situation in Mindanao.
Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao when the siege of Marawi erupted in May 2017. Congress extended the initially 60-day martial law until the end of that year.
Before 2017 ended, Congress again granted Duterte's request to extend martial law until December 31, 2018 to quell alleged terrorist threats.-- report from Sherrie Ann Torres and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News