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Philippine House leader wants Martial Law extended till Duterte steps down

An official from the country's Board of Investments in a telephone interview downplayed the impact of martial law on foreign investments, saying that there had been no significant changes in activity since the conflict in Marawi erupted.

In denouncing the planned extension, the CPP pointed out that Duterte claims he listens exclusively to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for advice on the on-going conflict, but military officials claimed they never advised the president to declare martial law. Security has been tightened in provinces adjacent to Marawi City with martial law still in effect.

Proclamation 216 is only effective for one more week.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said the extension of martial law in Mindanao was merely Alvarez's "personal opinion", but he disagrees with it.

According to Mr. Padilla, security officials are still evaluating the developments in the besieged southern city, adding that the martial law recommendation for the President is "already being done".

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the government is imposing martial law in Mindanao in May to stamp out extremists aligned with Islamic State (Isis) from the region.

The 1987 Constitution has set safeguards on martial law by limiting its enforcement to 60 days and allowing the Supreme Court and Congress to review the proclamation. Mr. Marcos was overthrown in 1986 by a People Power revolution.

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque said if the President would decide to extend martial law in the south, he hoped it wouldn't be for long because he said it would not be good for the country's image.

"Whichever way, it is imbecilic to seek advise from the AFP whose officers now admit it did not even know the strength of the so-called Maute Group when the AFP laid siege on Marawi", the CPP said in a statement published on its Facebook account on Monday.

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"Now Duterte listens to it to tell him when it will be over", it added.

Even if the administration is keen on extending military rule, the decision would still rely on recommendation from the military and police.

But AFP Spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Alvarez's proposal for a 5-year extension of martial law may be "too long".

"The structure which gives life to this rebellion is not only restricted to Marawi, which was only used by the terrorists as a base to launch its attacks", Padilla said.

Almost 400,000 civilians have fled their homes.

From the original number of forces of about 500, the military said the number of terrorists still holed up in the city is now down to about 80.

The military earlier said Islamist fighters are using children and women as human shields, while earlier reports claim that the Maute group has been training kids, believed to be aged 7 to 16 years old, for combat.

Meanwhile, 1,722 civilians who were held hostage or trapped in the main battle were either rescued or brought out of harms way.

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