The Senate majority bloc has a plan to prevent martial law in Mindanao from being extended for the fourth time despite hints from some administration officials that its imposition is still necessary.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday (October 16) that the Senate plans to pass the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act by the first week of November.
“DND (Department of National Defense) Secretary [Eduardo Ano] says they will recommend the lifting of martial law in the entire Mindanao if [the bill] is signed by PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte),” he told reporters in a text message.
Sotto said he has discussed the plan for passing the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
“Majority will support,” he added.
Sotto shared the Senate’s plan when asked for his comment to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s remark that she will ask Congress to exempt Davao City from the coverage of martial law should it be extended for the fourth time.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in May 2017 because of the Marawi siege. He has since asked Congress to extend it three times.
Mindanao will be under martial law until the end of December this year unless Duterte asks for another extension and Congress approves it.
The proposed Anti-Terrorism Law seeks to amend the Huamn Security Act to provide teeth to fighting terrorism. The bill proposes to criminalize the following acts:
For any person to travel or attempt to travel to a state other than his/her state of residence or nationality, for the purpose of perpetrating, planning, or preparing for, or participating in terrorist acts, or providing or receiving terrorist training;
For any person to organize or facilitate the travel of individuals who travel to a state other than their states of residence or nationality for the purpose of perpetrating, planning, training, or preparing for, or participating in terrorist acts, or providing or receiving terrorist training, including acts of recruitment; and
For any person residing abroad who comes to the Philippines to participate in perpetrating, planning, training, or preparing for, or participating in terrorist acts or provide support for or facilitate terrorist training here or abroad