President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to downplay the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao by saying it is only for the enemies of the state.
In a speech at a business forum in India Friday (January 26), Duterte told businessmen to avoid Mindanao because martial law is ongoing.
“There’s still martial law there. But it’s a martial law that’s not really a martial law. It is a martial law for the enemies of the state,” he said.
Duterte, however, said “ordinary” people would see more policemen than soldiers.
He acknowledged that the current situation in Mindanao is restive.
“In the implementation against the enemies of the state, ISIS, for example and the rebellious Abu Sayyaf, who are fond of decapitating foreigners, kidnap in front — you know… There’s something there in the south that is quite virulent,” Duterte said.
The President sought to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018 due to the ongoing rebellion by sympathizers of the Maute Group. His request was overwhelmingly granted by Congress.