Diplomatic corps receiving ML extension well: Cayetano

MANILA -- Members of the diplomatic corps understand the gravity of the situation in Mindanao and support the extension of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the region, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

In a press conference on Friday, Cayetano told reporters that some embassies even share information about threats and returning Jihadists in Mindanao.

"Hindi na nagtatanong kung bakit kailangan ng martial law doon kasi sila mismo nagsasabi sa atin na (They are no longer asking why martial law in Mindanao needs to be extended because they themselves tell us,) you have to take measures because the main group has been neutralized, but there is a pocket of support and developments in the Middle East that may push some to fund terrorist groups," he said.

Cayetano said that based on his observations, he believes foreign governments are receiving the decision well.

"So far, I think there's calm... the whole world knows the threat of terrorism despite criticisms bakit ang tagal ng (martial law) sa Marawi (on why martial law is being extended in Marawi)," he said.

"Actually, we're getting congratulations around the world for acting upon it decisively, and a war of that magnitude to be actually solved, you saw how ISIS slowly and effectively took over Iraq and Syria. We see certain countries around the world na two governments ang nag-aaway (where two governments are at odds)," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared war-torn Marawi City liberated from terrorists last October, after nearly five months of conflict between government forces and Islamic State-inspired groups.

In a letter dated Dec. 8, the President cited a recommendation from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who revealed the existing threats from foreign and local terror groups, armed lawless groups, and the communist terrorists in the region.

On Dec. 13, upon the request of the Chief Executive, the Congress deliberated and voted 240-27 in favor of extending the martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

Cayetano said the diplomatic community understands that under the present Constitution, martial law has limitations.

"We explained that in a meeting with the diplomatic corps," he said. "Having said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the assessment is the international community is looking more at why, how is it going, etc. Definitely, we will be scheduling a briefing with them once the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense get everyone together to share more information with them."

Source: Philippine News Agency