Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Source: EPA/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on July 3 that Philippine security authorities need more time to consider whether or not to lift the martial law on Mindanao island.

Lorenzana told a news conference at the Presidential Palace that the government needs a couple of weeks to see the real picture of Mindanao.

He said leader of the rebel group Isnilon Hapilon is believed to hide inside one of the mosques in Marawi city, days after the Philippine army staged an air attack against the city, adding that the government will help rebuild the city destroyed by the ongoing fighting and aerial bombings, including houses for residents. Priority will be given to the repair or reconstruction of damaged buildings in the commercial centre such as stores and banks.

Clashes broke out between the army and militants linked to the self-claimed Islamic State (IS) in Marawi city on May 23, killing 225 rebels, 59 soldiers and 26 civilians, forcing 309,000 others to leave Marawi and adjacent areas to seek safety.-VNA