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Filipino bishops cautious about martial law in Mindanao

May 31, 2017

Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines have voiced reservations about the decision by President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the province of Mindanao.

The bishops of the country’s region joined in a statement—signed by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato—saying that they “do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of martial law as reprehensible.” However, they said: “We are certainly agreed that martial law must be temporary.”

Duterte issued his declaration of martial law after the Islamic militant group Maute occupied the city of Marawi in Mindanao. Duterte said that he “might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

The country’s bishops, who have clashed frequently with Duterte, issued a similar statement last September, when Duterte declared a state of emergy after a terrorist attack in Davao City. While acknowledging the need to safeguard Mindanao against further attacks, the bishops warned against the use of emergency powers to bring about autocratic rule.

 
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