Lawmakers in the Philippines have overwhelmingly approved a plan by the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in the country’s south by one year over a persisting terror threat.
A majority of members of the country’s Senate and the House of Representatives passed the measure on Wednesday to prolong the martial law across the Mindanao region through the end of 2018. The parliamentary move came after Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other military authorities warned that the Daesh terrorists in the country were attempting to recover from their defeat in the southern, Muslim-majority Marawi City and planning new attacks.
“The rebellion has not stopped, it has just moved to another place,” Lorenzana said in an address before the joint session of the Congress.
Lawmakers opposed to the renewing of the martial law, however, argued that its extension in the southern portion of the country was unconstitutional, raising fears that the measure could be a prelude for Duterte to expand martial law throughout the Pacific Asian country.
Leader of the Philippines’ main opposition Liberal Party, Senator Francis Pangilinan, opposed the martial law extension without a clear constitutional justification, saying, “We will be in danger of becoming the monsters that we seek to defeat, those who have no regard for law, order or respect for the constitution.—Agencies