Duterte calls for martial law to be extended in southern Philippines

The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces are both recommending the president extend martial law on the island of Mindanao, the scene of fierce government fighting against ISIL-linked militants for almost two months.

"If indeed some of our soldiers are found guilty of committing excesses under martial law, then we will not hesitate to administer the appropriate sanctions against these individuals, while ensuring that due process is followed", Mr. Lorenzana said in a press statement.

"The primary objective of the possible extension is to allow our forces to continue with their operations unhampered by deadlines and to focus more on the liberation of Marawi and its rehabilitation and rebuilding", said Abella, reading the letter to Congress signed by Duterte.

"I have come to the conclusion that the existing rebellion in Mindanao, which has prompted me to issue Proclamation No. 216 on 23rd May 2017, will not be quelled completely by 22nd July 2017", Duterte said in his letter read aloud by Abella.

The insurgents burned down several buildings, including a church, and took several people hostage, prompting Duterte to impose a 60-day period of martial law on May 23 on the island of 21 million people.

The president also asked Congress to suspend a constitutional safeguard against warrantless arrests.

Beyond two months, the president can extend it "for a period to be determined by the Congress".

Duterte had initially consulted the military and police on extending martial rule.

"He also explained clearly his fear that terrorism might slowly spread throughout Mindanao and eventually the country", Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who attended the Monday meeting, told AFP.

According to the latest update provided by Malacañang on the Marawi siege, 413 militants have been killed while 511 high-powered firearms have been recovered from the terror group.

He also asked that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus be likewise extended.

He added that this is based on law enforcement considerations.

HELP FOR MARAWI manila policemen place money inside a water container turned into a piggy bank for financial assistance to government troops fighting Islamic State-linked terrorists in marawi City.

Vanessa Coleman

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