MOSCOW, Russia – President Rodrigo Duterte was able to comply with the 1987 Constitution's requirement that he submit a report on his martial law proclamation to Congress within 48 hours after he announced it.
This report, a copy of which was provided to Palace media, was handed to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez at 9:55 pm on Thursday, May 25, during a special Cabinet meeting in Davao City.
Read the entire report below:
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In the report, Duterte justifies his martial law declaration by citing the ongoing Marawi clashes as proof that local terror groups like the Maute have "committed public uprising" against the government with the goal of "removing Mindanao – starting with the City of Marawi, Lanao del Sur – from its allegiance to the Government."
Duterte explained his decision to declare martial law not just in Marawi but in the entire Mindanao by saying the Marawi attacks put at risk the entire southern region.
"The group's occupation of Marawi City fulfills a strategic objective because of its terrain and the easy access it provides to other parts of Mindanao. Lawless armed groups have historically used provinces adjoining Marawi City as escape routes, supply lines, and backdoor passages," reads the report.
The President also believes the Maute Group's occupation of Marawi is a "clear attempt to establish the group's seat of power" in that city, a critical step in their goal to establish a wilayat or Islamic State (ISIS) province that covers the entire Mindanao.
"These activities constitute not simply a display of force, but a clear attempt to establish the groups' seat of power in Marawi City for their planned establishment of a Daesh wilayat or province covering the entire Mindanao," said Duterte.
"Daesh" is another term for ISIS.
The participation of foreign terrorists in the attacks, later on confirmed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to media, and the involvement of drug money in funding terrorists underscore the need for martial law, said Duterte.
He added that the violence being perpetuated by the ISIS-inspired Maute could also embolden other armed groups in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.