What Happened: Philippine lawmakers have voted to extend the state of martial law in the Mindanao region until the end of 2019, Philstar reported Dec. 12. The measure gained overwhelming support from legislators, who passed it with an overall vote of 235 to 28.
Why It Matters: The decision extends the special powers of the military in the restive ethnic Moro region to oversee the implementation of a new autonomous region intended to assuage long-standing grievances.
Background: Martial law was implemented as part of the Philippine military's efforts to manage the Islamic State's takeover of Marawi City, which began in 2017. The measures give enhanced powers to the military to combat not only jihadist networks but also deal with a communist insurgency in the region.
- The Philippines Lays Its Bet for Peace. Will It Pay the Price? (Aug. 7, 2018)
- Philippines: Manila Takes a Long-Awaited Step Toward Calming Mindanao (July 26, 2018)
- Could Militants in the Philippines Make a Comeback? (April 24, 2018)