Saturday, 26 September, 2020

Philippine Congress extends martial law in south amid siege

Protesters display placards during a rally outside Camp Aguinaldo the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protest the extension of Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao island in the southern Philippines as proposed by Presiden Philippine Congress extends martial law in south amid siege
Christy Curtis | 23 July, 2017, 00:30

"Duterte's martial law threatens military abuses in Mindanao that could rival the murderous "drug war" in urban areas", Human Rights Watch director for Asia Phelim Kine said after the Philippine congress first imposed martial law.

"The local officials have not been arrested there". This is not the martial law that we had before.

Outside the gates of Congress, sectoral groups picketed and called for an end to the martial law.

Sen. Cynthia Villar approved the extension of martial law "to show support to our mostly young soldiers, in fact 100 of them died and to prevent the movement of terrorists to and from Marawi City". "Together, let us transform Mindanao into a land of fulfillment", Abella said.

A third safeguard is by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, "who, speaking for the President, vowed strict government supervision on the implementation of martial law to ensure that the rights and liberties of the people remain secure".

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano are part of a small group of lawmakers who plan to file a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the need to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law on May 23 when heavily-armed militants belonging to the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups along with foreign fighters stormed Marawi City, sparking the biggest security crisis of his presidency. "We feel that we're not alone fighting them with the clothes and water that you sent over".

The approval of the Congress to extend martial law until December this year on Sunday has drawn various reactions from different sectors in the city.

Other lawmakers argued there was no basis for declaring martial law to begin with, since under the Constitution, only an actual rebellion or invasion would merit such proclamation.

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Now that the debate is over, he urged the nation "to get on with the job of nation-building and contribute to the attainment of the full promise of Mindanao". "There is much work to be done to bring back public safety and law and order in the whole island of Mindanao", Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

The subject remains sensitive in the Philippines, decades after the late leader Ferdinand Marcos put the country under military rule for part of his 20-year term. They were immediately ushered out by security officers.

"There is much work to be done in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi".

Outside the sprawling House compound in suburban Quezon City, placard-bearing militant groups protested but anti-riot policemen, who were ordered to exercise "maximum tolerance" reported it was peaceful.

Armed Forces chief of staff Eduardo Año, meanwhile, admitted it was the military who specifically requested the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31.

Lorenzana said there is a continued presence of terrorists allied with IS militants, especially in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Maguindanao and the Central Mindanao region.

The original martial law proclamation was made on May 23, after government troops who were supposed to arrest worldwide terrorist Isnilon Hapilon encountered the Maute terror group in Marawi City.

In his written request to congress, Duterte contradicted military estimates that claimed just 60 fighters remain entrenched in the city saying he believes 220 are still battling national security forces.

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