Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said the government will end martial law in Mindanao at midnight, even as soldiers will remain in the region “to sustain peace and stability.”
Military rule has been in effect in the region since May 23, 2017, in response to the ISIS-affiliated Maute group attack on Marawi City. It was extended thrice.
“At midnight (Tuesday), the martial law in Mindanao will end after two years and seven months or 953 days of effectivity,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“Upon the recommendation of the security sector, the President has decided to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore.”
However, Lorenzana said that “the present number of troops will remain as is wherever they are and will continue to collaborate with the LGUs to sustain peace and stability.”
He assured that “the security sector believes that the objective of the martial law has been achieved. The rebellion in Marawi, Lanao del Sur and other areas in Mindanao have been effectively stopped.”
“They are confident that they can maintain the current peace and order in Mindanao and that an attack similar in scale to Marawi cannot be waged by the remnants of the Mautes or by any other terrorist groups in the future.”
Human rights groups and social activists have questioned the extension of martial law in the region due to alleged abuses.