Martial law in the Philippines

December 6, 2009

In the Philippines, thousands of troops have taken control of the southern Maguindanao province and arrested more than 60 people.

President Gloria Arroyo imposed martial law in the area late Friday, in response to the killing of 57 people last month. They were relatives and supporters of a political figure, as well as journalists. It was the worst political massacre the Philippines has seen, and the deadliest single attack on journalists in the world.

The Filipino government says the declaration of martial law is necessary to crack down on the clan they suspect of being behind the killings. But a group of human rights lawyers say it's going too far, and they plan to challenge it in court on Monday.

Martial law allows the military to make arrests without court warrants. The last time the Philippines saw it was under dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s. For many Filipinos, Arroyo's move no doubt brings up painful memories of that era. Time Magazine takes us back with this story from 1972.

But, a presidential spokesman says martial law is necessary under the circumstances. Click on Related Audio for the story on World Report today.

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report