Malacañang to reveal AFP recommendation on martial law Monday

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 2) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has submitted to Malacañang its recommendation on whether to lift or extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he already has the AFP's proposal, which he will "read verbatim" on Monday, December 4. 

"The President will make a decision if not next week, then the week after because Congress will go on recess on the 15th and as you know we cannot have the extension of martial law without the consent of Congress," Roque said in a press briefing in Zamboanga City on Saturday.

Although he refused to preempt the AFP's recommendation and President Rodrigo Duterte's decision, Roque said he believes military rule will be helpful in ongoing efforts to rebuild war-torn Marawi.

"Lahat po ng involved sa (All those involved in) Bangon Marawi tingin ko they will feel safer if the President will exercise his power as commander in chief," Roque said.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur around 1,500 kilometers south of Manila.

On July 22, the 60-day period lapsed and Congress approved a request from the President to extend martial law until the end of the year.

Minority senators oppose martial law extension

But minority senators on Saturday said they are ready to oppose any move to extend military rule in Mindanao beyond December 31.

Senators Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes in a joint statement said the government should instead focus on rehabilitation efforts.

"We propose that the martial law in Mindanao be lifted as soon as possible so that we can all focus on the rehabilitation of the devastated lives and livelihoods of the people of Marawi City and nearby areas," the senators said.

During the joint session of Congress last July 22, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Chito Gascon said they were receiving "more and more reports of possible human rights violations" in Mindanao.

A Maranao rescue worker even detailed some of these cases, including a 20-year-old child with autism allegedly tortured and interrogated if he was a member of ISIS-linked Maute.

Read more: Maranao turns emotional as she cites human rights violations in Marawi

A more recent report by human rights group Amnesty International accused soldiers of torturing several civilians who escaped the main battle area in Marawi.

The AFP has promised to investigate human rights violations allegedly committed by government troops.

Read: AFP to probe allegations of torture by gov't forces in Marawi

Bangon Marawi officials want martial law

The five-month war in Marawi has also turned homes and buildings into rubble and displaced over 300,000 residents.

Some officials leading government efforts to rebuild Marawi are seeking an extension of martial law for as long as rehabilitation efforts are ongoing. 

Task Force Bangon Marawi chairman, retired Major General Eduardo del Rosario revealed intelligence reports that the remaining members of the Maute group are conducting "massive recruitment," offering as high as P100,000.

"Just imagine, if something will happen in Marawi City during the rehabilitation phase, baka wala nang pumuntang mga contractors at laborers (contractors and laborer might not come). Mahihirapan tayo sa rehabilitation (We will have a hard time in rehabilitation efforts)," del Rosario said.

Lanao del Sur crisis management committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong likewise said reports of recruitment efforts should be enough reason for martial law to stay.

"If I would be asked right now, I think the necessity of maintaining martial law dictates that, you know, kailangan talaga dahil meron palang, may (it is really needed because of) pockets of recruitment na nangyayari diyan (happening there) surrounding the lake," Adiong said.

The military has said extending martial law would be possible if troops are still unable to stop several local terrorist groups before the year ends.