MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 6:31 a.m., December 14, 2017) There is no promise from President Rodrigo Duterte that he will not expand martial law nationwide.
On Wednesday, hours after Congress gave him the green light to extend military rule in the South for a year, the chief executive said his decision to place the whole country under iron-fisted rule depended on what the state’s foes would do.
Asked during a press briefing if he didn’t have any plans of declaring martial law nationwide and if it would only be within Mindanao, Duterte said, “Well, it is up to the enemies of the state.”
According to the President, the New People’s Army (NPA), which he tagged as “communist terrorists” and is among the reasons why martial law should be extended in Mindanao, is allegedly continuing moves to undermine and overthrow the government so it could place the country under communist rule.
“Eh sabi ng NPA [The NPA said] that they are recruiting en masse…and they create trouble and they are armed and about to destroy government,” the President said.
The rebels had no doubt that Duterte’s end goal is the imposition of martial nationwide, noting that its extension in Mindanao “came after his declaration of the (Communist Party of the Philippines) and NPA as terrorists and simple criminals and his unbridled hostility to the legal democratic movement.”
The CPP’s information bureau predicted “unmitigated death and destruction,” accusing Duterte of “setting up his fascist dictatorship to perpetuate himself in power” but said “the people and the revolutionary movement are ready to defend themselves and will meet him head-on.”
Duterte warned the rebels that “the government will not wait until the dying days of its existence” as it “can always pre-empt and prevent that disaster.”
“To what extent, what level of atrocities or attacks, it is not for me to say that. It is for the armed forces and the police,” the chief executive added.
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