31 May 2017

News Story: Martial law shows Duterte's strong-arming, says analyst

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
By Patricia Lourdes Viray

MANILA, Philippines — The declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao represent President Rodrigo Duterte's "inevitable strong-arming," a political analyst said.

Erin Cook, who covers Southeast Asia politics, said in analysis released by a Sydney-based think tank that the siege in Marawi City the past week can also be regarded as the peak of heightening violence between government forces and ISIS-inspired militants.

"The declaration of martial law amid the bloody insurgency has found far more supporters than critics, and raises questions about the immediate future for the archipelago," Cook said in an article published by Lowy Institute for International Policy.

The clash between government forces and the Maute terror group started with the manhunt for Isnilon Hapilon, a former leader of both the Moro National Liberation Front and terror group Abu Sayyaf.

On May 23, Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao after members of Maute group seized Marawi City in direct retaliation for the so-called surgical strikes against them and Abu Sayyaf.

Such proclamation prompted Duterte to cut his visit to Russia as he immediately flies home to oversee the situation in Mindanao.

The last president to declare martial law was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who did so in Maguindanao province on Dec. 4, 2009 in the aftermath of the Ampatuan massacre. Martial law was lifted in the province on Dec. 12, 2009.

Read the full story at PhilStar