Amid Maute attack: Duterte declares 60-day martial law in Mindanao, to fly back home from Russia immediately

Images from Istoryang Duterte and Ayman Mat's Facebook accounts
  • President declared martial law in entire Mindanao following Maute incursion in Marawi City
  • Duterte to also cut short state visit to Russia, return immediately to PH
  • Cayetano said official – delegation to stay behind, follow through with PH-Russia deals

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law over the entire island of Mindanao following the attack by Maute militants on Marawi City.

Duterte made the declaration through presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a press conference in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday night.

“As of 10 PM Manila time, he has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao,” Abella said.

Citing rebellion as the basis, Abella also clarified that martial law “is good for 60 days” only.

Under the present Constitution, martial law or the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus cannot exceed 60 days unless extended by Congress.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano, who is part of the official delegation, revealed that Duterte will cut short his trip and return to the country immediately to assess the situation.

“President Duterte does not take lightly the declaration of martial law because he knows there are implications,” he said; adding that he has already briefed his Russian counterparts of the situation in Mindanao and they have been understanding.

Cayetano also said the rest of the delegation will stay behind to finish the deals being set by the Philippines and Russia.

According to authorities, a clash erupted between security forces and Maute militants Tuesday afternoon. Sporadic clashes were reported as ongoing, with terrified locals saying power has been cut off and several buildings — including a school and jail — had been set on fire.

Residents also took to social media to post pictures and videos of the conflict, as well as appeal to the government for help.