The Philippine legislature voted on Wednesday, December 12, to renew martial law on the island of Mindanao for one more year until December 31, 2019. President Duterte justified the extension as a necessary means to quell terrorist groups, which reportedly continue to defy the government by perpetrating hostile activities. Demonstrations in response to the announcement are possible in the coming weeks.
Mindanao island has been under martial law since May 23, 2017. The initial martial law declaration was supposed to last for 60 days, as indicated in the Constitution. Initially, Congress voted to extend it until the end of 2017, but Duterte requested an extension until the end of 2018, stating militants threat remains persistent.
Individuals are advised to continue to avoid the region surrounding Marawi, monitor the situation, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities. As a reminder, some Western governments formally advise against travel to southwestern Mindanao and to the Sulu Archipelago due to terrorist activity, regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups, and the risk of kidnapping by Abu Sayyaf group.
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