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Will he or won’t he? Duterte: Declaring martial law in Mindanao ‘an emotional decision’

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President Rodrigo Duterte asked for time to think over the prospect of declaring martial law in Mindanao, particularly in Sulu.

At a press conference at the Davao International Airport following his arrival from China early Tuesday (May 16), Duterte was asked about the Save Sulu Movement’s call for him to declare martial law in Sulu because of the activities of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

In response, Duterte said: “I need time to ponder on it deeply and it is not on the — a political decision, it is an emotional decision.”

While Duterte said tinkering with the State’s “extraordinate powers” isn’t easy, he also recalled saying that he will solve everything that ails Mindanao should he be forced to place the island under authoritarian rule.

“Pati na ‘yung boundary sa lupa. I would not just tinker with it as if it’s a plaything. It’s a very serious matter,” he said.

“But kung ako ang magma-martial law, there is no way of telling how long would it take us to restore order or we might not really be able to succeed,” Duterte added.

The military said it is monitoring over a dozen foreign terrorists in Mindanao who are reportedly operating with members of the Maute Group, the Abu Sayyaf, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Duterte has ordered the military to crush the ASG and other terrorist groups.