FOREIGN governments are “calm” about the Philippines’ decision to extend for a year the imposition of
martial law in Mindanao.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday said foreign ambassadors, instead of raising
concerns on the Philippine government’s decision to extend martial law in Mindanao, have actually told
Philippine authorities to take necessary measures because even if the main terrorist group Maute has
been neutralized, there are still a pocket of support for the remaining terrorists in Mindanao.
He stressed “but more of these embassies by the way are sharing information with us about the
threats in Mindanao, threats in the region and returning jihadists. So hindi na nagtatanong bakit
kailangan ng martial law dun kasi sila mismo nagsasabi sa atin na you have to take measures because
the main group has been neutralized but there are a pocket of support and developments in the Middle
East that may push some to fund terrorist groups.”
Cayetano said: “So far I think there’s calm. For three reasons: The whole world knows the
threat of terrorism despite criticisms bakit ang tagal ng sa Marawi. Actually we’re getting
congratulations around the world for acting upon it decisively, and a war of that magnitude to be
He cited how ISIS slowly and effectively took over Iraq and Syria, and certain countries
around the world now have two governments fighting against each other.
The Foreign Secretary also said the foreign governments know that under the present Philippine
Constitution, martial law has limitations. And lastly, the media are free to go to Mindanao.
“Having said that, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the assessment is – the
international community is looking more at why, how is it going, etc.,” he said.
Cayetano said they will be scheduling a briefing with the international community once the
Armed Forces and Defense Department get everyone together to share more info with them (foreign
On Wednesday, the 17th Congress voted 240-27 to approve the request of President Rodrigo
Duterte for the extension of martial law in Mindanao by a year, or until the end of 2018.
The Senate and the House of Representatives also extended by a year the suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, which would allow the government to arrest persons of interest
without a warrant.
This is the second extension granted to the President. Congress earlier granted Duterte’s
request for a 5-month martial law extension, which was supposed to end on December 31.