Lorenzana vows to intensify crackdown vs Maute with ML extension

MANILA-- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said government troops will strive even further to end the ongoing Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City once and for all.

Lorenzana made the statement following the huge majority of Congress jointly voting for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

"With the overwhelming vote of confidence from our legislature and the ardent support of the Filipino people, your defense department will strive even more to deal with the rebellion decisively and expeditiously," he said in a statement Sunday.

The Congress, in a 261-18 vote, affirmed the need to extend Presidential Proclamation Number 216 extending Martial Law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus until Dec. 31 as initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

It was declared in effect in Mindanao after Maute Group terrorists conducted a series of attacks in Marawi City following the botched attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, last May 23.

"Makaaasa ang sambayanan na hindi namin sasayangin ang tiwalang ito. Gagampanan ng ating Hukbong Sandatahan ang pagtatanggol sa bayan at mga mamamayan nang buong katapatan," Lorenzana stressed.

He added that Maute Group terrorists or other lawless elements, wishing to reform and turn themselves in, will be accepted and given the necessary support by the government for their betterment.

"But if you persist in your crooked ways, the Armed Forces and the police will come after you without let up," Lorenzana pointed out.

Source: Philippine News Agency