Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

This week, as expected, Congress approved Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao. The move is a significant one that has implications for many areas, one of which is the peace process recently terminated with communist rebels, and a proclamation on December 5 declaring the Communist Party (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.

In the December 5 proclamation, Duterte said he ended the peace talks because the CPP-NPA “failed to show sincerity” after “it engaged in acts of violence and hostilities, endangering the lives and properties of innocent people.” Several escalatory moves, including threats against these groups as well as the martial law extension this week, have followed briskly since then.

Complicating the situation is Duterte’s recent pronouncement that he is still open to negotiating with the CPP-NPA, though this is typical of Duterte who flip-flops on major policy issues. Unless he reverses his two proclamations which ended the peace process and designated the CPP-NPA as terrorists, there is little to hope that the prospect of finally ending Asia’s longest-running insurgency will be achieved under Duterte’s term.

Read more at The Diplomat

Why Duterte Extended Martial Law in Mindanao

The Philippine Congress overwhelmingly voted in favor of extending martial law in the southern island of Mindanao for one year in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to defeat terrorism.

Duterte declared martial law on May 23 after an armed group with ISIS links attacked Marawi City. Two months later, Congress extended martial law up to December this year after the military encountered some difficulties in urban warfare. Last October, Duterte ended the Marawi siege and proclaimed government victory over ISIS forces.

But a few days before the scheduled termination of martial law in Mindanao, Duterte wrote Congress that he needed another year to combat terrorism. Further, he said that Mindanao remains a “hotbed of rebellion” where “communist terrorists” are committing criminal acts of violence.

Whether Duterte expands martial law or not next year, the Congress vote has boosted support for his administration. It could embolden him to carry out some of his controversial plans like overhauling the constitution or declaring a so-called revolutionary government.

Read more at The Diplomat magazine

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