Philippines To Extend Martial Law In South To Year End


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte won a Congressional vote on Saturday to extend martial law in the southern island of Mindanao, strengthening his legislative hand in the year ahead.

The vote came hours before the 60-day martial law proclamation ends on Saturday night. Several foreign fighters, including 20 Indonesians and a Malaysian financier known as Mahmud bin Ahmad, joined the insurrection, Duterte said in a letter to Congress this past week.

Lorenzana and other security officials explained to Congress that the martial law extension for all of Mindanao was necessary to be able to address the other security threats.

The president's spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the "extension of martial law is essential to overall peace and stability". There is much work to be done in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon said there is no evidence of rebellion in Mindanao.

The Senate and House vote will extend the martial law conditions until December 31, 2017, wherein the Secretary of National Defense serves as administrator of the Martial law regime.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon said there is no basis to extend martial law until the end of the year, adding that the basis for martial extension cannot be supported by the situation on the ground. The House voted in favor of the extension.

The Philippine constitution requires parliamentary approval to extend periods of martial law.

The military chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Ano, warned during the session that aside from the uprising in Marawi, extremist groups have plotted similar insurrections in other southern cities and that martial law has helped troops stop attacks, including bombings, elsewhere.

Meanwhile, up to half a million people have been forced to flee their homes, while an unknown number are being held as human shields.

A slide presentation accompanying Mr Duterte's request, seen by AFP, compared the Marawi crisis to the ISIS takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

"I can not afford to be complacent", the President told reporters on Friday, adding the military would be conducting further "mopping up operations" even after they recapture Marawi.

Saturday's vote paved the way for the first extension of a period of martial law since the Marcos era.

During this time, thousands of critics, political opponents and suspected communists were killed, detained or arrested. A few hours into that morning's interpellation, protesters of the Lumads of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development were heckling at the proceedings from the gallery. This is not the martial law that we had before. Others anxious that the extension was too long and that the rest of the country may eventually be placed under martial rule.

After this, he could declare a revolutionary government to allow him to stay in office beyond his six-year electoral term in mid-2022, Sen.

Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV were absent.

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman for his part questioned the inclusion of Daulah Islamiya Wilayatul Mashriq (DIWM), the so-called Islamic State Province in East Asia, when this was not even mentioned in Mr. Duterte's martial-law edict, Proclamation No. 216.

Año said it was not the troops who caused the destruction, but the terrorists.

"The implementation of Martial Law in the last 60 days hit the workers in Compostela Valley", he said, as he narrated their experiences when government forces broke into their picket line.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said there are 1,200 Islamist insurgents in Mindanao.

"We can not understand why you did it to us". Extending martial rule means their continued stay in evacuation centers, she added.