MANILA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday that he is considering placing the entire country under martial law, saying the militants might continue to sow more terror not only in southern Philippines but also in other parts of the country.
Duterte declared on Tuesday night martial law for 60 days on the island of Mindanao and nearby island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi after clashes between the army and militants with alleged links to Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi, provincial city of Lanao del Sur on the island of Mindanao in southern Philippines.
Duterte made the declaration while on an official visit to Russia, which he was forced to cut short after the Marawi City violence broke out around Tuesday afternoon.
At a news conference shortly after arriving from Russia, Duterte said that he is considering expanding the scope of martial rule to nearby Visayas region and even the entire country, including the main Luzon island.
"If I think that the ISIS has already taken foothold also in Luzon, and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people," Duterte said.
"I may decide to expand the area to include Visayas because it is a walking distance actually," Duterte said, referring to the proximity of the Visayas region to Mindanao.
He added he might also decide to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas. "Remember that this is not intended for the law-abiding citizens. We are the least of your worries," he said.
Visayas region is a group of island provinces in the central Philippines, just above Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines.
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