Martial law in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, originally aimed at quelling a terrorist attack in Marawi in May, has been extended for another year.
Ucanews.com reported that on 13th December a joint session of Congress approved a request by President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law across the region until 31st December 2018.
In a letter addressed to Congress, Duterte cited continuing threats from Daesh-inspired terrorists and communist-led guerrillas for seeking an extension to emergency rule. The president said he requested the extension to “ensure the total eradication” of Islamist terror groups, armed lawless groups, and “communist terrorists and their coddlers, supporters and financiers.”
Legislators who opposed the extension said martial law in Mindanao has no basis in the Philippine Constitution and can lead to human rights abuses.
Sen. Franklin Drilon questioned the inclusion of the New People’s Army as a reason for extending military rule, warning that it might be used as a pretext for extending martial law nationwide, ucanews.com reported.
“If we are to believe that the government is intent on ending the war against the (communist guerrillas)…then it is entirely possible that (military) operations would have to be extended beyond Mindanao to meet that objective,” said Drilon.
Picture: Philippine police keep watch as protesters hold signs against martial law extension in Mindanao on 13th December. Congress approved a request by President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law across the region until 31st December 2018. (CNS photo/Rolex Dela Pena, EPA).