ML extension, an acclaim and challenge for military – AFP

MANILA--- With Congress, in a Special Joint Session, voted for extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday said it takes the affirmation as an acclamation and challenge to totally eliminate the remaining Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City.

"It's an acclamation of the sacrifices of every Soldier, Airman, Sailor, and Marine who died; or were wounded or whose limbs were lost fighting or while supporting the fight to retake Marawi and liberate the hostages," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.

Arevalo said the task to neutralize the terrorists-extremists and degrade their capability; to rescue civilians trapped or held hostage; and to set the conditions for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City-- is daunting.

"But your AFP, aware of the enormity of the job that still needs to be done and the great expectations of our people, will measure up to the test," he added.

And while the AFP thanked the people for their overwhelming support and manifestation of appreciation, Arevalo said the military urged fellow Filipinos to join hands and fight violent extremism and never allow its seeds to take roots in their midst.

"Only by accompanying our words of commitment with our resolute and united actions will the forces of good reign over that of evil," he added.

The 17th Congress, voting jointly --261 as against 18-- 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.

Source: Philippines News Agency