Esperon says extension of martial law should be last resort
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Thursday that further extending martial law in Mindanao should be the last resort.
In the "Presser" in Malacanang, Esperon said during a recent National Security Cluster meeting, they discussed the implementation of martial law in southern Philippines.
"But we still would like to think that the extension of martial law should be on a last resort basis," he said.
He said further extending martial rule should not be the first option.
"What we should think should be the needs of Mindanao and we are getting all the feedback from the people and it may interest you to know that majority of the people of Mindanao want it," Esperon said.
But he said an extensive study is being conducted by the Armed Forces, the Philippine National Police, and the departments of National Defense and of Interior and Local Government.
"We are aware that the PNP has come out with a statement of support for the extension as well as the Secretary of Interior and Local government but let that be part of the recommendations that will go up to the President (Rodrigo Duterte) when it is time to decide and ask Congress for an extension for another period however long it will be," he added.
"So, let's talk about it. As I said, it is an instrument for us that will be considered as a last resort but if it is needed as dictated by the situation and the desire of the people, then so be it. We will follow it," Esperon said.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in May last year after the Maute-ISIS terrorists attacked Marawi City.
With the concurrence of Congress, martial law has been extended until the end of this year. Celerina Monte/DMS