Regional police director Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal said Southern Mindanao already meets all the conditions for the lifting of Martial Law.
However, speaking on Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press briefing, Escobal said that the region is still surrounded by other areas in Mindanao, which have yet to achieve optimum security conditions.
“Considering the threats coming from other areas, we have effective mechanisms to monitor them and we are considering those factors,” Escobal said.
He acknowledged the negative impression of Martial Law on investors and tourism, but it is crucial in their campaign of peace and order. He cited the total ban on firearms, which made it easier for law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.
“So far, we have been enjoying the decrease of crime incidents and no major incidents happened,” he said. “We are in support of the Iifting of Martial Law.”
Meanwhile, Eastern Mindanao Command head, Lt. Gen. Filemon Santos Jr., already submitted to the AFP general headquarters last week the recommendation to lift Martial Law in his area of jurisdication.
Lt. Col Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of EastMinCom, said, “It is the point of view of Eastern Mindanao but basically, the reason is improving the situation in the area as far as terrorism (is concerned).”
President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 after the siege of Marawi City by the Maute Group. The battle lasted for five months, until it officially ended on Oct. 23, 2017, with the death of the prominent leaders of the group.