Philippines in Crisis: Duterte Declares Martial Law Amid Marawi Terror Siege

Martial Law Will Last For 60 Days

In response to the deadly siege on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law.

President Duterte made the declaration following a deadly gun battle between government forces and the ISIS-linked Maute group.

The announcement was made by Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella at a press conference in Moscow where Duterte was on an official visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abella stated that that the emergency declaration took immediate effect and will last for 60 days.

Abella said, “President Duterte has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao.

This is the second time in the country’s history that a president declared Martial Law. Former president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972 that placed the country under dictatorship rule and lasted for two decades.

Mindanao makes up roughly one third of the country and is home to around 20 million people.

Peace in the Philippines!
Peace in the Philippines!

The Siege in Marawi

Gunmen who were suspected members of two armed groups – Abu Sayyaf and Maute – which have pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), launched a deadly attack in Marawi, 816km south of Manila.

The gunmen who were believed to number more than 100, burned a Catholic church, the city jail, and two schools. The militants also occupied the main streets carrying ISIS flags.

The hostilities led to the death of two soldiers and one police officer. Twelve government soldiers were also wounded when the fierce firefight erupted between the two opposing forces.

To respond to the crisis and to contain the violence, the government deployed additional forces to Marawi on Wednesday.

The Triggering Factor

The declaration of Martial Law drew a backlash and at the same time was favored by the people living in Mindanao.

However, President Duterte asserted that the emergency declaration was implemented to counter the plan for terror group Maute to take control of Mindanao and the plan to establish an ISIS presence.

This was the highlight of the President’s report received by Senate President Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday.

The events commencing on 23 May 2017 put on public display the groups’ clear intention to establish an Islamic state and their capability to deprive the duly constituted authorities – the President foremost – of their powers and prerogatives,” the report said.

The report discloses the possible threat these terror groups can cause in Marawi city. In addition, the report stated some facts about the Maute group. Duterte said Maute had 263 members as of last year, mainly in Lanao del Sur. In addition, it has networks and links with foreign and local armed groups Jemaah Islamiyah, Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, and Abu Sayyaf.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.