MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Friday that "similarly" supports the police's recommendation to retain martial law in Mindanao to defeat other violent militant groups operating in the insurgency-ridden southern region .
On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte subjected the entire Mindanao region to martial law after the city of Marawi was assaulted by armed militiamen of national origin who swore allegiance to the feared Islamic State.
Interior and Local Government Officer in Charge Catalino Cuy On Thursday he said that constant threats from terrorist groups led the Philippine National Police to recommend to the president a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, an AFP source said that the field commanders were convinced of the need to keep the war law in Mindanao for at least a year to deprive the terrorists of the possibility of regrouping.
READ: PNP, AFP recommen d 1-year extension of Martial Law
In a press conference, Major General Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said that while he was not aware of the details of the proposal, the army's recommendation to Duterte was "similarly support" the PNP guide.
But Padilla emphasized that the AFP's recommendation to the commander-in-chief was "separate and different" from that presented by the police.
"The basis for the extension of the declaration of a martial law previously [is] the many threats we still face on the island of Mindanao in particular," the military spokesman told reporters in Malacañang.
The restless island of Mindanao has a long history of Muslim separatist rebellion.
In July, Congress voted overwhelmingly to prolong the military rule in Mindanao until the end of the year after the proclamation reached its 60-day constitutional limit, giving Du Tte more time to stabilize the region ravaged by conflict where ISIS was gaining influence.
In an enthusiastic speech to the troops last October, Duterte declared the city of Marawi, the only predominantly Muslim city in the mainly Catholic Philippines, liberated from the pro-ISIS extremists after five months of fighting with state forces his first experience in urban warfare.
But experts warned that the end of the 148-day Marawi occupation does not end the security crisis in the southern Philippines as terrorists could radicalize those displaced by the fighting.
According to Padilla, the militants used cash rewards to persuade students, children, women and relatives of terrorists who were killed by government forces in Marawi to join them in preparation for future attacks.
Martial law remains a sensitive issue in the Philippines after it was used by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s to perpetuate himself in power.
Opponents feared that Duterte could declare martial law at the national level, but the authorities had repeatedly ruled it out.