Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte looks through a broken muzzle of a rifle after hundreds of guns and weapons were confiscated during a pro-Islamic State group siege in Marawi last year.(Source: https://asia.nikkei.com)


Hanoi (VNA)
– The Philippine Congress voted on December 12 to extend martial law on the southern island of Mindanao for another year until the end of 2019, due to concerns over continued threats from rebels and groups sympathetic to Islamic State militants.

In a joint session, 235 lawmakers granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to keep Mindanao under martial law till December 31, 2019.

They agreed with assessments by security officials that Muslim terrorists still posed a threat as they are still recruiting fighters and fomenting rebellion across Mindanao.

Only 28 voted against the extension, which is the third of its kind so far.

President Duterte declared martial law across Mindanao hours after approximately one thousand Muslim militants, stormed the Islamist city of Marawi on May 23, 2017.

Under the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, the martial law is effective for 60 days, but following President Duterte’s proposal, the Philippine Congress prolonged it until December 31, 2017.

After the meeting, Philippine authorities affirmed that the freedom and rights of citizens in Mindanao will be ensured during the martial law’s effectiveness.

The five-month security crisis in the Mindanao city of Marawi killed over 1,000 people and forced 500,000 others to leave their homes. Although Marawi is liberated, local police believe that the region is still under threat by militants in hiding who are recruiting new members. –VNA