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Philippines

Marawi bishop says no to extension of martial law

Duterte wants to extend military rule in Mindanao as troops continue to battle terrorists in Philippine city

Published: July 19, 2017 05:39 AM GMT

Updated: July 19, 2017 05:43 AM GMT

Marawi bishop says no to extension of martial law

Bishop Edwin de la Pena of Marawi is against a proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao. (Photo by Karl Romano)

 

The Catholic bishop of the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippines said he is against the proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Bishop Edwin de la Pena of Marawi said military rule across the southern region of the country is a "big inconvenience" that hampers the mobility of people, commerce and the transport of goods.

He said the failure of the government to end the terrorist occupation of Marawi after 60 days of martial law was a "bad signal." The prelate said the government seemed not capable of finishing off the terrorists.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across Mindanao following the Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack of Marawi on May 23 that has resulted in the death of hundreds of people and the displacement of up to 300,000 residents.

On July 18, at least one senator supported Duterte's call for the extension of martial law in Mindanao due to the failure of government forces to end the terrorist occupation.

"There are still battles ongoing. It's a tough house-to-house battle with snipers," said Senator Richard Gordon. The legislator said abductions and jailbreaks were also monitored in other parts of the region.

Duterte has called for a special joint session of Congress on July 22 to consider the extension of military rule in Mindanao for another 60 days.

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