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Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao, following the Maute Group’s siege of Marawi City. The President is expected to fly back to Manila from his Russia trip.

Moscow, Russia – In the thick of the recent clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and alleged Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-allied Maute Group in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella relayed the President’s declaration that as of 10:00 p.m. Manila time, the entire island of Mindano is under martial law. The announcement was made on Tuesday, 23 May 2017, at around 6:30 p.m. in Moscow, Russia (11:30 p.m. Manila time). Martial law in the southern islands will last for 60 days, as decreed by the Constitution.

Abella added that because of the situation in Marawi City and the consequent declaration of martial law, President Duterte has decided to cut short his Russia trip. Abella said, of the President’s movements: “He is flying to Manila as soon as possible.”

The declaration was triggered the barrage of attacks that the Maute Group have wrecked in Marawi City. Initial reports show that the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Dansalan College, and Marawi City Jail were attacked, buildings were also burned.

The President, in the past, has said that he does not wish to declare martial law, provided that his hand is not forced to do so. It seems that the situation in Marawi City has forced said hand.

Government troops are holding fast amidst a city-wide blackout and Maute Group snipers in the area. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that on Wednesday, 24 May 2017, more troops from Zamboanga and Manila will be sent to Marawi City for support.