Combat ops vs threat groups to continue after martial law

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    CHECKPOINTS in Mindanao will remain and combat operations against threat groups will continue even after martial law is no longer in effect in the region, the Armed Forces said yesterday.

    AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said this is to ensure the safety of the people of Mindanao.

    Apart from continuing the checkpoint and combat operations, the military will also continue to coordinate with local government officials and the people, particularly in the monitoring and reporting of suspicious individuals in their localities

    “We are not going to let our guard down,” said Arevalo. “We guarantee the safety of the people but as we have been saying, your Armed Forces cannot do it alone.”

    Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said President Duterte has decided not to seek an extension of martial law which expires on December 31.

    Martial rule has been extended thrice since Duterte declared it on May 23, 2017 hours after the Maute terror group occupied several barangays in the city. The five-month conflict left about a thousand terrorists, 168 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians dead.

    PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the police force is supporting Duterte’s decision.

    “The steady decline in crime victimization in Mindanao over the past two years validates our data and general observations of lesser crime and lesser fear of crime in Mindanao indicating that security measures and the campaign against crime and terrorism are achieving positive results and success,” said Banac.

    “We assure the public that the PNP remains alert and vigilant to prevent occurrence of crimes, to enforce the law, and to maintain peace and order nationwide,” Banac also said.

    Arevalo said the military recommended the non-extension of martial law because of the “improvement of the security climate in the area,” adding the capability of terrorist groups has been “significantly weakened.”