02/23/2019 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – On February 19, the Philippine Supreme Court voted 9-4 to uphold President Rodrigo Duterte’s extension of martial law in the south through December 2019.
This decision came weeks after the Jolo church twin bombings last month, where 23 people lost their lives from the terrorist attack.
The third extension of military rule was imposed to counter militants who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) who had taken over the southern city of Marawi in 2017. The Marawi siege devastated the city, took more than 1,000 lives, and forced more than 300,000 residents to flee for their safety.
According to BenarNews, Armed Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal appeared before the court to defend the extension, stressing that troops must destroy the enemy’s manpower, firearms and support system by up to 30 percent before officials could recommend lifting martial law.
More than a year after the IS Filipino leader, Isnilon Hapilon, and key associates were killed in Marawi, military sources claimed about 23 pro-IS groups are recruiting members in the southern Philippines.
Despite the fact that there were close to 10,000 on duty in Jolo island to counter the Abu Sayyaf terrorists after an extended martial law since last December, they were still able to bomb the Catholic church.