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Duterte to end martial law in Philippine south after two years

Duterte to end martial law in Philippine south after two years

President Rodrigo Duterte announced his decision to end the martial law in the southern part of the country, AP reported on Tuesday. After hundreds of the ISIS militants were weakened or killed by the governmental forces, Mindanao residents could start to live with no restrictions of the martial law.

The regular capture and killing of the Islamic leaders by the Philippines Army lead to the normalizing of life in the southern region Mindanao, Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said Tuesday.

The martial law in Mindanao started on May 23, 2017, became the worst security crisis Duterte has faced. Two years ago, hundreds of local militants aligned with the ISIS group and backed by foreign fighters occupied buildings.

Mindanao, a commercial district and communities in Marawi city, suffered from the Islamic fighters’ presence over the years. Despite the assistance of the US and Australian forces, Rodrigo Duterte approved an extension of martial law in Mindanao three times in a row. Philippines President warned that militants continued to recruit fighters and plot attacks, that was the main reason to extend the martial law in Mindanao.

“The palace is confident on the capability of our security forces in maintaining the peace and security of Mindanao without extending martial law,” Duterte’s spokesman said in a statement. “The people of Mindanao are assured that any incipient major threat in the region would be nipped in the bud.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has told Duterte that Muslim militants can no longer carry out an attack like the siege on Marawi, which left more than 1,000 mostly militants dead, along with troops and civilians, and turned the mosque-studded city’s commercial and residential areas into a wasteland of burned and pock-marked buildings and houses.

Duterte’s decision was dubbed as unconstitutional

Opposition politicians argued Duterte’s martial law was unconstitutional because it is an “extreme measure” that can only be imposed when an actual rebellion against the government exists.

Duterte’s critics also expressed the idea that presidential move could be a prelude for him to declare martial law throughout the Philippines.