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Lorenzana says martial law a must even if AFP can handle Marawi crisis: Para maayos ang Mindanao!

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The declaration of martial law in Mindanao was necessary to resolve security concerns which have plagued Mindanao for a long time, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday (May 31).

Lorenzana made the clarification in response to a claim made by opposition senators that he did not recommend the declaration of martial law to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The defense chief supposedly made the admission during the security briefing he gave the senators in an executive session on May 29.

“What he (Lorenzana) said was that the government security forces can contain the situation in Marawi city even without martial law. However, he emphasized that martial law is imperative to once and for all address security concerns in the entire Mindanao immediately and decisively,” the statement attributed to Lorenzana read.

The defense chief said the security situation faced by government forces goes beyond their ongoing fight with the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City.

“President Duterte’s imposition of martial law aims to put an end to the long running rebellion in variosus provinces in the south, as evidence by the incidents that happened in Zamboanga, Davao, Bohol, Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Maguindanao,” Lorenzana said.

“As the President has repeatedly said, ‘kung magdedeclare ako ng martial law, tatapusin ko nang lahat ito,’ referring to the threats posed by ISIS-linked local and foreign terror groups whose network covers the entire Mindanao,” he added.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Tuesday (May 30) that defense officials admitted during the executive session that the Maute group can be neutralized even without the declaration of martial law.

The minority bloc comprised of Hontiveros, and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Leila de Lima filed a resolution urging the Senate to hold a joint session with the House of Representatives to discuss martial law but this was defeated in a 12-9 vote at the plenary.