Martial law declared in Mindanao amid clash between government, Maute group terrorists

MANILA, Philippines - On the evening of Tuesday, May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the whole island of Mindanao amidst the ongoing fight between government troops and Maute group terrorists in Marawi City.

 Martial law declared in Mindanao amid clash between government, Maute group terrorists

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella made the announcement during a briefing in Moscow, Russia. According to him, martial law will be implemented in the said area for 60 days, as set down in the Constitution.

"What the President has done is only for Mindanao including Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi,” Abella emphasized.

Days prior to the Martial law declaration, Duterte said: “If I declare martial law in Mindanao, I will solve all that ails the island.”

Furthermore, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also revealed that Duterte has decided to cut his Russia trip due to the incident in order to return to the Philippines. His meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmutry Medvedev will be postponed as he left Russia at around 10pm. Still, the agreements between the two countries will be signed, Cayetano insisted.

Cayetano said. “The physical presence of the President is needed in the Philippines. That is the President's assessment, and his priority is always the protection of each and everyone of the Filipino, he will act within the framework of the Constitution, we will follow all rules and regulations.”

Government troopers killed in Marawi clashes

Two soldiers and one police officer were killed while several others were wounded as a result of the ongoing clashes in Marawi City. According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the clashes began when security forces raided a house where Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang and Philippine head of Islamic state, was allegedly hiding.

Maute group occupied a street and two bridges leading to the city and burned down several facilities including St. Mary’s Church, Ninoy Aquino School, Dansalan College and the city jail.

"The whole of Marawi City is blacked out. There is no light and there are Maute snipers all around so the troops are still on holding and several groups of element already joined them from other neighboring units,” Lorenzana revealed.

Meanwhile, civilians are urged to stay in their homes or flee if it was safe and refrain from posting photos of groups and terrorists on their social media accounts.

More troops will be sent into the city on Wednesday.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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