Rodrigo Duterte asked congress to extend martial law across south

Vastavam web: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress today to extend martial law across the southern third of the country until the end of next year to combat Islamist militants and communists.In a letter to lawmakers released by his office, Duterte said extending martial law was necessary in the southern region of Mindanao to contain an ongoing rebellion by Islamic State group supporters as well as a rising threat from communist guerrillas.Duterte initially imposed military rule across Mindanao, which covers the southern third of the country and is home to about 20 million people, in May to quell an uprising by IS supporters in Marawi city.
Hundreds of gunmen rampaged through Marawi, the mainly Catholic Philippines’ Islamic capital, in what authorities said was part of a campaign to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate for IS.Although Duterte declared in October that Marawi had been “liberated” and military chiefs said most militant leaders had been killed, authorities have continued to warn that others who escaped are regrouping and recruiting in Mindanao.
The initial period of martial law was limited by the constitution to 60 days. But lawmakers in July endorsed an extension until the end of this year.Duterte, who has praised Marcos, has repeatedly said he may impose martial law across the entire nation.Rights groups and other critics warn Duterte is destroying democracy in the Philippines with strongman rule and a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.Duterte enjoys overwhelming support in both houses of Congress.