Clearing operation in Marawi to go beyond SONA: Padilla
Clearing war-torn Marawi City of the remnants of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Terror Group may continue even after President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address to be held on July 24, a military spokesman said on Friday.
In the "Mindanao Hour" briefing in Malacanang, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said based on their estimate, 600 more structures and infrastructures have to cleared in Marawi, with an average 50 structures being cleared of Maute terrorists daily.
He noted, based from President Rodrigo Duterte's earlier estimate, clearing operations in Marawi could be completed in 10 to 15 days.
"But the 10 to 15 days is beyond the SONA by the way. So don't expect it to be before the SONA," Padilla said, citing the assessment was based on operational imperatives that was provided by the troops on the ground at the start of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Duterte placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law starting May 23 following the Maute attack in Marawi.
Asked if martial law declaration would also be extended as the 60-day period for its imposition would end on July 22, Padilla said, "I cannot go beyond what I just said because the recommendation primarily is not yet done and it is the decision of the leadership that will be the basis."
He said the AFP has one week to submit the recommendation to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, martial law administrator, and then to Duterte on the fate of martial law.
He said Lorenzana could provide Duterte an advance copy of the recommendation for his reference.
Duterte said he would wait for the recommendation of the security officials on whether he would extend martial law in Mindanao. Celerina Monte/DMS