Philippine Congress votes to extend martial law in south

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine legislators have voted to approve President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in the country’s south by a year due to what the military says are continuing terrorist threats despite the defeat of a disastrous pro-Islamic State group siege.

An overwhelming majority of members of the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the extension of martial law across the Mindanao region through the end of 2018. The move came after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other officials warned that pro-IS militants were trying to recover from their defeat in southern Marawi city and were plotting new attacks.

Opponents say extending martial law in the south is unconstitutional and have expressed fears that it can be a prelude for Duterte to declare martial law throughout the Philippines.

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