MANILA — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Major General Restituto Padilla, on Sunday assured the public that government troops continue to exhaust all efforts to foil any potential terror plot by extremist groups and their allies in Mindanao.
This came in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that the decision to extend martial law in Mindanao will come from military and police recommendations.
“We are working to meet the deadline by the end of the year to address the threats posed by terror networks in Mindanao,” Padilla said in a message to the PNA Sunday.
“We shall make the necessary assessment to determine if we have successfully done that and in the event that we have not, appropriate recommendations will be made to the Commander-in-Chief and the Security Council/Cluster,” he added.
The military official said that their ultimate goal for now is to degrade and eliminate the ability of terrorist groups and their networks so they could no longer pose a serious threat to national security.
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, when fighting in war-torn Marawi City erupted.
Heavy fighting was brought about by efforts to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, and his cohorts.
The five-month battle to liberate Marawi City was only declared over after authorities confirmed the death of Hapilon and Maute Group co-founder, Omar Maute, last Oct. 23. (PNA)