There have been several criticisms on the government of Philippine over the 60 day martial law declared over Mindanao. Irrespective of the shock caused by the declaration, Philippine government has even threatened to extend the martial law duration to one year and over other cities like Luzon and Visayas. Experts have argued that the declaration is out of proportion and that the crisis did not warrant such extreme measure that should have been reserved for the worst case scenario.
Both Philippine and U.S. security officials have claimed that ISIS does not have a formal presence in Philippines. However, ISIS has some smaller terrorist groups scattered everywhere. Maute is one such terrorist group. The incidence in Marawi was orchestrated by the gunfight between the Maute group and military forces. It saw nearly 100 people dead; the number comprises 61 militants, four policemen and 11 soldiers, the rest were civilians.
The Washington’s $5 million offer on information that would lead to the capture of the militant commando, Isnilon Hapilon, contributed to this menace. Philippines military group had moved to capture the seemingly elusive commando in Marawi, a city with more than 200,000 population mainly occupied by Muslims. It is important to reprise Hapilon’s elusiveness. He had been targeted in a military airstrike earlier in the year. Many were killed and although Hapilon was injured, he escaped the attack. Furthermore, it appears the citizen’s reaction over the presidents’ declaration was steamed by their restiveness engendered by the right abuses they suffered under Ferdinand Marco’s draconian rule.
The recent attack has resulted in an absolute fiasco, putting the lives of thousands of civilians in danger. Up to 2000 civilians were trapped in the Marawi city, irrespective of the fact that thousands had managed to escape. With the ongoing crisis and turbulence, Philippine has been ranked among the top insecure places in the world. North Mindanao alone had about 59,665 displaced persons. Homes have been destroyed, churches burned, schools and even city jail dismantled and civilians, including a priest and several worshippers, taken as hostage. The Marawi city had indeed become a war-torn zone. With the firefight taking a huge toll on both the Philippine military and the militants, the militants are probably running out of food and ammunition and it was observed that they are weakening.