WATCH: President Duterte Declares Martial Law in Mindanao Due To Marawi Incident

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, May 23, declared martial law in Mindanao in response to clashes between government troops and Maute group terrorists in Marawi City.

In a press conference in Moscow, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, said the president ordered him to make the announcement.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inspects the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“The president has called me and asked me to announce that as of 10 p.m., Manila time, he has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao,” Abella said.

“(Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra) has clarified that this was possible on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao based on Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution. This is good for 60 days,”he added.

He also said, “the government is in full control of the situation and is fully aware that the Maute/ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and similar groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Duterte decided to cut his Russia trip short due to the incident.

“The physical presence of the President is needed in the Philippines. That is the President’s assessment, and his priority is always the protection of each and everyone of the Filipino, he will act within the framework of the Constitution, we will follow all rules and regulations,” Cayetano said.

Duterte is expected to return to the Philippines Wednesday afternoon.

SOURCE: CNN, Philstar, ABS-CBN News