Duterte thanks Congress for martial law extension

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President Rodrigo Duterte claims the extension would help him deal with insurgents in Mindanao, including the New Peoples' Army. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 13) — The President thanked Congress for approving his request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018.

"I'd like to thank Congress for understanding the plight of the Filipino," Duterte told the military at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City Tuesday during the ceremonial destruction of captured firearms during the Marawi crisis.

Earlier, in a joint session, lawmakers said there was sufficient reason to extend martial law in the south, which was first declared after ISIS-inspired Maute rebels tried to take over Marawi City on May 23.

READ: Congress grants Duterte request to extend Mindanao martial law until end of 2018

Duterte said the extension of martial law would help him address insurgencies in Mindanao, including that of the New Peoples' Army (NPA).

"Alam mo mahirapan talaga 'pag walang martial law sa Mindanao. I will make it public and maybe telegraph it also to the other side, na itong mga komunista, the terror group called the communists, ito 'yung walang hinto na laban," he added.

[Translation: It will be difficult if there's no martial law in Mindanao. I will make it public and maybe telegraph it also to the other side, that these communists, they won't stop fighting.]

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will continue to be suspended, allowing the government to detain suspects without a warrant.

"Without the martial law powers, the ancillary powers attached to the implementor, the implementing agency, mahihirapan kayo [it will be difficult]," he added.

The President, in his letter to Congress last December 8, said the extension was necessary to quell the NPA's "intensified" rebellion, and attacks by foreign and local terrorist groups.

Some lawmakers questioned the basis for Duterte's request to extend martial law, saying that there is no more state of rebellion in the region after Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi.

READ: Gov't: Martial law in Mindanao needed due to 'continuing actual rebellion'

READ: Solon: Quell rebellion by ending root cause, not by extending martial law

Duterte added he will use the one-year extension to combat the communist rebels-and said he will practice the military's attack helicopters on them.

"It's a big window actually for all of us," he said