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It began on Tuesday. The Philippine government received word that Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the local ISIS branch in The Philippines, was in the city of Marawi to meet with other militants. Government forces moved in to try to capture him, and that’s when things … went badly.
Firefights erupted and now Marawi, a city of 200,000 people, is in the midst of “clashes” between government forces an unknown number, definately several hundred, ISIS fighters. They have taken over buildings, including the city hall, city jail, and a medical center.
President Duterte responded by cutting short his foreign trip (he was actually visiting Russia) and declaring martial law for 60 days in Mindanao. “I will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation,” he said. “I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”
The Philippine constitution empowers the President to declare martial law for a period of 60 days to deal with invasion or rebellion. It can be revoked by the Parliament within a 48-hour window (which has passed already) and is subject to review by the nation’s Supreme Court.
However, considering that Duterte has openly endorsed extrajudicial killings to deal with the nation’s drug problem, that he’s promising to do “anything and everything,” may mean things could get … messy.
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