Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference after concluding the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila, Philippines April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced that he might declare martial law in the entire country, if the threat of Islamic State rises.
Duterte has already declared military rule in the southern island of Mindanao following a failed raid by soldiers on Tuesday on a hideout of the Maute militant group, which triggered clashes and chaos across the largely Muslim city of Marawi.
He said if necessary he would keep it that way for a year, while assuring that there will be no abuses under martial rule. “We are in a state of emergency” and fighting with Muslim militants are continuing in southern city, said Duterte while talking to reporters at Manila airport after returning from Moscow.
Declaring martial law in Mindanao for 60 days, Duerte said his government may consider other areas where Islamic groups are expanding their terrorist activities. He also mentioned the central Visayas region, where militant groups launched heavy attacks.
Following the abduction of priest in Southern Marawi city, the government put the 175,000-strong Philippine National Police personnel on full alert and directed them to ensure security all over the country. Earlier, a Muslim extremist group abducted a husband of a church worker and a priest from a southern Philippine city.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Wednesday that militants forced their way into a cathedral and took Rev. Chito Suganob and other church goers hostage.