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By Aaron Recuenco

Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), will recommend the lifting of martial law in Mindanao as soon as the security situation in Marawi City normalizes.

Darkening Skyline – Smoke from a burning building in Barangay Marinaot rises over the Marawi City skyline, as fighting between government forces and the Maute groups entered its third day. Marawi residents (inset) fleeing the conflict fill a road leading to Iligan City in Lanao del Norte. (Mark Balmores|Manila Bulletin File Photo)

But right now, dela Rosa said, it is too early to predict the outcome of the ongoing police and military operations against the Maute Group since a lot of its fighters are still holed up in Marawi City.

“Why not? It would become unnecessary again if there’s no problem and it will continue,” said dela Rosa when asked to clarify if he would recommend to the President the lifting of martial law if the Maute problem is already solved.

“But it depends on the recommendation of the PNP and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). So we will cross the bridge when we get there. Who knows, the problem could be solved tomorrow, the next day or next week,” he added.

Dela Rosa’s statement came after President Duterte said he would choose to listen to the police and the military who are on the ground rather than those who do not know the real situation in Marawi.

Almost a hundred Maute gunmen, soldiers, policemen and civilians have died in the fierce gun battle that started on Tuesday last week.

A total of 42,142 people were reported to have been displaced in Marawi City while at least 2,200 are still trapped in 25 barangays where the gun battle and airstrikes are being conducted.

Marawi is now almost a ghost city due to the number of local residents who fled from their homes for fear of being trapped in the crossfire, being held hostage, and being hit in the continuous air raids.

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