Palace welcomes Congress approval of martial law extension


MALACANANG has welcomed Congress’ approval of President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao for one more year because of security concerns.

“We welcome the approval of both Houses of Congress to extend the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao beginning January 1, 2018 until December 31, 2018,” Palace Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

“Public safety is our primordial concern; thus, we ask the public to stand behind the Administration and rally behind our defenders to quell the continuing rebellion in Mindanao; eradicate the DAESH-inspired Da’awatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DIWM) and other like-minded local/ foreign terrorist groups and armed lawless groups, and the communist terrorists and their coddlers, supporters and financiers; and ensure the unhampered rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi and the lives of its residents. This is everyone’s shared responsibility. Together, we will prevail,” he added.

In a joint session on Wednesday, Congress, dominated by Duterte’s allies, heeded the President’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao despite opposition from minority lawmakers.

A total of 240 lawmakers voted to extend martial law while 27 rejected the proposal.

Breaking down the voting numbers per house, the Senate tallied 14-4, while the House of Representatives had 226-23.

The President imposed military rule in Mindanao on May 23 after terrorists laid siege to Marawi City, kidnapped dozens of civilians and burned infrastructure.

Congress voted to extend martial law until the end of the year in July.

Duterte declared Marawi liberated from terrorists in October but did not lift martial law because of supposed threats in other parts of Mindanao like Basilan and Sulu.

Last week, the military recommended a one-year extension of martial law, saying the government needs to run after other armed groups in the south. CATHERINE S. VALENTE


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