Manila (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law Tuesday in the southern region of Mindanao, after deadly clashes between security forces and Islamic State group-linked militants in a major city there.
The announcement, made by his spokesman at a press conference in Moscow where Duterte was on an official visit, fulfills an often-repeated warning by the president that he would enforce military rule to quell security threats.
“As of 10:00pm Manila time (1400 GMT) Duterte has declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao,” spokesman Ernesto Abella said in the nationally televised briefing.
Abella said martial law would be in place for 60 days, in line with constitutional limits on the use of military rule.
Martial law is particularly sensitive in the Philippines because it was used by dictator Ferdinand Marcos to remain in power during his two-decade reign, which ended in 1986 with a “People Power” revolution.