Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.
Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.

TACLOBAN CITY, July 22 — Officials in Leyte provinces on Saturday supported the martial law extension in Mindanao, saying the move would help attain lasting peace in conflict-stricken southern Philippines.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said the extension indicated that the President was very concern on peace and order, particularly in fighting terrorism.

“The President has a job to do. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt to solve the peace and order problem in Mindanao,” Petilla said.

If Mindanao is peaceful, it will have a positive impact to Leyte especially that the province is part of the nautical highway that connects Luzon and Mindanao Island,he said.

Southern Leyte Lone District Rep. Roger Mercado said the Chief Executive’s decision should be respected since he has all intelligence information that other’s don’t have .

“We need to support the request of the President because as the administrative and executive head of our country, he knows and he has information on the current situation in Mindanao,” Mercado said.

“Knowing the President to be sincere and his intention that is for the good of Mindanao and to promote peace and order, I think he needs more time to plan in order to see to it that this terrorist group fighting against the government, will not succeed,” Mercado added.

The Philippine Congress, during a special joint session on Saturday, voted to extend the period of martial law until end of the year.

Results of the joint voting showed that 261 lawmakers voted in the affirmative while 18 lawmakers voted in the negative.

On the part of the Senate, 16 senators voted in favor of the motion, while four were against it. In the House of Representatives, 245 members approved the motion, while 14 rejected it.

President Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 while on official trip to Russia after members of Maute Group attacked Marawi City. (Sarwell Q. Meniano & Roel T. Amazona/PNA)