Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country in “a state of lawlessness” on Saturday following a suspected terrorist attack in Davao City on Friday. Duterte expressed his belief that the explosion, which killed 14 people and injured at least 71 more, was an act of terrorism and declared a “state of lawlessness” [CNN report], which would allow police and military personnel to frisk individuals and search cars. At this time, Duterte had refrained from declaring martial law. Those who perpetrated the attacks have yet to be discovered, but the Philippine’s National Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said he believes the attack was carried out by Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group. Duterte said the attacks “could be a reprisal” from extremists in response to Duterte’s crackdown on drugs and crime.
Duterte took the presidential office in May after promising [WSJ report] the Filipino population that he will restore their broken society, redistribute the wealth, and aggressively crackdown on corruption and crime. Since Duterte has taken office, about 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed and 600,000 have surrendered to the police. Earlier this month, Duterte named [JURIST report] 150 serving and former state officials connected to the nation’s illegal drug trade and ordered them to either surrender to the authorities or risk being hunted down.