Duterte: Nationwide martial law is presently unnecessary

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night allowed troops wounded in the ongoing Marawi City firefight to use the Fokker F-28 presidential plane to fly them from the Camp Brig. Gen. Edilberto Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro to Manila.
/ Malacañang photo

President Rodrigo Duterte said placing the entire Philippines under martial law was uncalled for at the moment.

Duterte’s statement came after he was asked to explain his remarks that should he declare a second martial law, it would be a “copycat” of Marcos.

The President was referring to former president Ferdinand Marcos who declared martial law in the entire country from Sept. 21, 1972 to Jan. 17, 1981.

“At this time, it is not called for,” he told reporters in an ambush interview in Cagayan de Oro on Tuesday night.

He said his declaration of martial law, which suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, was a “mechanism” to “prevent” the terrorists to gain foothold in the Visayas.

Duterte, on May 23, declared martial law in the whole Mindanao after Islamic-inspired Maute terrorists attacked Marawi City in a bid to establish a caliphate in the region.

“Ang martial law ngayon nandito na (Martial law is already here). Whether or not I expand it to cover the entire Philippines is something else,” he said.

The fighting between government troops and Maute terrorists is now in its fifth week, claiming the lives of at least 26 civilians and 65 government troops.

On the part of the enemy, 268 terrorists had been killed while 271 firearms had been recovered.

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