Martial law to be extended in Philippine's Mindanao


He added that most Filipinos recognize the seriousness of the situation in Mindanao and back Duterte's martial law proposals. Any extension must be approved by Congress.

"The rebellion in Marawi continues to persist and we want to stop the spread of the evil ideology of terrorism and free the people of Mindanao from the tyranny of lawlessness and violent extremism", presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

"The Philippines armed forces must show the utmost restraint to ensure that civilians are safeguarded during operations in Marawi", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. There is much work to be done in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

"This will bring more hardships for us, especially in our workplaces", said Roy Jim Bulanghig, president of the workers' union at Shin Sun Tropical Fruits Compostela Valley.

While Duterte has the majority in both houses, the vote in favour of the extension of martial law was a foregone conclusion.

Sixteen senators voted to extend martial law and four against - minority senators Franklin M. Drilon, Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, and Francis N. Pangilinan.

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He also criticized the inclusion of drug syndicates on the Armed Forces' operational directive on the implementation of martial law.

Critics say Duterte does not need the additional powers of martial law to defeat the militants.

"The overwhelming vote for its extension is baseless and is purely a showcase of political patronage".

Lorenzana stressed the problems concerning the NPAs was being addressed with or without martial law.

Meanwhile, up to half a million people have been forced to flee their homes, while an unknown number are being held as human shields. Marawi might now become a magnet for fighters from Iraq and Syria, writes the president Duterte.

"One day after Martial Law was declared by President Duterte, soldiers from 66th Infantry Battalion occupied the plant of Shin Sun upon orders from higher authorities", Bulanghig said.

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

Martial law allows the use of the military to enforce law and the detention of people without charge for long periods.

About a dozen protesters in the gallery interrupted Saturday's hearing, chanting "never again, never again to martial law" before being escorted out. And I uphold and respect the Constitution by respecting the sole power of the President to determine the territorial coverage of the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, as upheld by the Supreme Court decision last July 4, 2017. Others anxious that the extension was too long and that the rest of the country may eventually be placed under martial rule.

Duterte, 72, insists he has no plan to stay in office beyond his term.

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

Militants linked to so-called Islamic State have been occupying parts of Marawi, a city in the south, since May.

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