Citing the continual threat of terrorism, President Rodrigo Duterte asked for an another extension of Martial Law in Mindanao last December 11, 2017. The extension will take effect in January 1, 2018 and last until December 31, 2018.
In light of the President’s request, the House of Representatives and the Senate gathered for a special joint session on Wednesday to decide on the matter of extension.
After the four-hour session, 226 congressmen and 14 senators voted for the extension while 23 congressmen and 4 senators voted against. Totaling in a 240-27 landslide in favor of the extension.
Movement Against Tyranny, a coalition against tyranny, denounced the continuation of the Martial Law in their statement. The group pointed out that the implementation of Martial Law for another year is unconstitutional because no actual rebellion or invasion is present.
“History has proven that Martial Law and similar militarist approaches have failed to address the roots of the armed conflicts in Mindanao and elsewhere,” the group added.
Supporters of the extension such as law student Jeremiah Caballero shared that the extension is good for the protection of the public from terrorists. However, he shared that he was concerned about the length of the implementation due to potential abuse of military powers.
“For me, it is too long. With all the government resources and intelligence, I personally think that they are able to eradicate terrorism within a short span of time,” he added.
The decision to extend Martial Law needed to be approved before the recess of Congress on December 15, during which no law or bill will be passed until the Congress reconvened in January.