Terrorism in Mindanao was one of Rodrigo Duterte’s concerns even before he declared martial law in the region. It was one of his topics during a speech he delivered in front of filmmakers, producers and actors more than a month before the controversial declaration.

On April 19, Duterte was at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City to lead the unveiling of marker for the launching of Cine Lokal. In partnership with SM Entertainment, the new cinema line was launched by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) house award-winning, independent films in eight SM Cinema theaters.

Actress Mary Liza Diño is the current Chairperson and CEO of the FDCP. She joined Duterte onstage during the Cine Lokal launching along with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. President Edgar Tejerero.

As the guest speaker of the event, Duterte decided to not read the speech written for him. Instead, he delivered an impromptu one, which covers various topics on the Philippines’ current challenges.

Both ISIS and the Abu Sayyaf Group were mentioned while Duterte was discussing terrorism in Mindanao. The President had just returned to Manila from Bohol, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit meetings were held from April 19 to April 22.

Before the meetings, there was an encounter between government troops and members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Inabanga town, Bohol. On April 12, the Army declared the province “cleared.”

On May 23, Duterte was on a working visit in Russia when he placed the entire Mindanao under martial law. This was to suppress lawless violence and rebellion after the deadly siege of the Maute terror group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao received polarized reactions from Filipinos. Some saw it as the best solution to the insurgency while others expressed concerns on the repetition of the historical martial law during the Ferdinand Marcos regime.

Watch a part of Duterte’s speech at the launching of Cine Lokal here: 


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