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Palace on martial law vote: The nation has chosen to stand united
The nation has chosen to stand united in defending the Republic," Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday expressed its gratitude to Congress for voting to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Voting 261-18, members of Congress approved the extension of the declaration until December 31 during a special joint session on Saturday.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the extension of martial law is essential to overall peace and stability.
"The nation has chosen to stand united in defending the republic," Abella said in a statement.
Abella added that the government wants to stop the spread of the ideology of extremism that continues to persist due to the rebellion in Marawi City.
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The Philippine government is also seeking to free the people of Mindanao from "the tyranny of lawlessness and violent extremism."
"Now that the debate is over, let us get on with the job of nation-building and contribute in the attainment of the full promise of Mindanao," Abella said.
Security forces have yet to clear Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur, of Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists, the reason for the president's request to have the martial law he declared on May 23 extended until the end of the year.
A total of 16 senators voted in favor of the extension while four voted against it. In the House of Representatives, 245 members voted yes while 14 voted no.
Under the Constitution, Congress may extend the proclamation for a determined period if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao following a clash between government forces and the ISIS-inspired local terror groups.