Metro Manila · President declares „State of Lawlessness“

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a „state of lawlessness“ on 3 September 2016, after a bombing in Davao killed 14 people and injured more than 60.

The declaration applies nationwide and has not been limited to a specific time period. The President can now call out the armed forces to suppress „lawless violence“. That means, you should expect to see more soldiers, policemen, and checkpoints in public places , especially in Mindanao but also in key areas of Metro Manila and other parts of the country. Local curfews can be imposed if deemed necessary, but Defense Secretary Lorenzana assured that none would not be implemented.

The state of lawlessness does not mean „martial law“, as Duterte emphasized.  Martial law, the suspension of ordinary law, had been implemented by former President Marcos to transform the democratic Philippines into a dictatorship.

The government has not yet issued a written document officially declaring the state of lawlessness and its scope.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Abu Sayyaf claimed that one of their allies is behind the attack on a night market in President Duterte’s home city. Days before the bombing, the Philippine military had started an offensive against the Islamist militant group, which has been carrying out terrorist attacks, kidnappings and killings since the early 1990s, mostly in the southern parts of the Philippines.