Philippine Congress votes to extend martial law in south

1000Source: Associated Press

BY Jim Gomez

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine Congress on Wednesday approved a request by the president to extend martial law in the country’s volatile south by a year due to continuing threats by Islamic State group-linked militants and communist insurgents.

An overwhelming majority in the Senate and House of Representatives voted to extend martial rule, which expires at the end of the month, by another year in southern Mindanao region, scene of decades-long Muslim and communist rebellions in the largely Roman Catholic nation.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the southern region under martial law after hundreds of Islamic State group-linked militants attacked the Islamic city of Marawi on May 23, 2017, in the worst security crisis he has faced. Troops quelled the siege after five months but officials say surviving militants continue to recruit new fighters and plot bombings and other attacks.

“Now more than ever, we cannot afford to show our enemies a moment of weakness in our resolve to defeat them,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told the joint session of Congress.

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