THE Defense Department on Sunday told Islamic State extremists that they would feel the full might of the government after Congress approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana vowed to be more aggressive in combating rebellion.
Lorenzana said the government would welcome rebels back into society so that everyone could move forward toward progress.
“But if you persist in your crooked ways, the Armed Forces and the police will come after you without let-up,” he added.
After nearly seven hours of deliberations, Congress on Saturday approved Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31 amid the long-drawn conflict between government forces and Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City.
A total of 261 legislators approved the extension while 18 rejected the proposal, the final tally coming out at 3:59 p.m.
Sixteen senators approved to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year while four rejected the proposal. Two hundred forty-five representatives voted “yes” while 14 others voted against the President’s request.
Lorenzana welcomed Congress’ resolution to extend martial law, saying that they won’t let this opportunity go to waste.
“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.
Lorenzana, who is administrator of martial law, earlier said that military rule need not to be imposed to other parts of the country amid continued operations of the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol and the New People’s Army in Luzon.
He said the order to go after the New People’s Army in different parts of the country would not need martial law.