Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that the martial law imposed in the southern island of Mindanao, might also be extended to the rest of the country if the terror threat escalates
Duterte announced the measure on Tuesday night after militants attacked the city of Marawi in Mindanao, killing three and wounding over 10.
He said the martial law will be withdrawn only after the police and the army have confirmed that the situation in Mindanao is stable, Efe news reported.
“We must move fast to restore normalcy. If it takes one week, I will be happy, but if it takes five years of my term, I will not withdraw it,” the President said, referring to the martial law.
According to the country’s current constitution, the martial law can be applied for a maximum period of 60 days, after which the Congress decides if an extension is required.
“If I think the ISIS has got a foothold in Luzon, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people,” Duterte asserted.
On Tuesday, militants from the Maute group — an organization linked to the Islamic State — had captured Marawi, a city with a population of 200,000 people, and laid siege on a hospital for hours, and set a church, a college and the city’s prison to fire, while holding over 10 people hostage.
The Maute group is an Islamic armed organization based in Lanao del Sur that first emerged in 2012 under the name of Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), but adopted the name EI-Ranao two years later to indicate its affiliation with the IS.