MANILA — Martial law in Mindanao could be lifted soon following Marawi City’s liberation from the hands of the Maute terrorist group, Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña said Wednesday.
Dela Peña noted the city has been cleared of terrorists, hence, martial law in the region should be lifted.
“Maaari na rin sigurong ibalik (sa normal) ng gobyerno dahil ang nangyaring siege of Marawi ang ginawang dahilan for the declaration of martial law for the whole of Mindanao (Maybe it’s time for the government to normalize everything. In the first place, the siege of Marawi was the reason for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao),” the Catholic prelate added.
But, Dela Peña noted that he was willing to give the government some time for martial law to stay in Mindanao, if it would help the immediate restoration of the city.
“I am willing to grant the government a little more time to keep martial law if by it, the rehabilitation of Marawi would proceed much faster,” he said.
On the other hand, he praised God as the conflict in the southern part of the country has finally ended.
“Ibig sabihin, tapos na ang Marawi siege! Salamat sa Diyos! Pwede na nating ibangon ang Marawi City at ibalik ang payapang kaayusan sa lungsod, sa buong Mindanao at sa buong bansa. Purihin ang Panginoon. (This means the Marawi siege is over. We can now rebuild Marawi City and restore peace and order in the city, in Mindanao and the whole country. Praise God.),” he added.
Marawi City became a battleground between government troops and Maute group for almost five months.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi from terrorists, though martial law is still in effect until December 31.
The announcement was made a day after the terror group’s leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed in a battle.
Over 160 soldiers and more than 800 terrorists were killed in the conflict that started last May 23. (PNA)