He said: “If I think that ISIS has taken a foothold also in Luzon, and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country.”
The declaration of martial law across the island of Mindanao followed clashes between government forces and Islamic State-affiliated Maute terrorists yesterday.
As we reported, a priest and his congregation have been taken hostage and the city police chief beheaded as thousands of civilians have fled the city.
It is thought five government personnel have been killed in clashes, and more than 30 injured.
The fighting broke out after a botched raid to capture Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is being harboured by the group.
Hapilon is IS’s official representative, or ‘emir’, in Southeast Asia and has a $5 million FBI bounty on his head.
The president warned that his martial law would be similar to that imposed by dictator Ferdinand Marcos a generation ago.
Marcos’s two-decade rule ended in 1986 when millions of people took to the streets in the “People Power” revolution.
“Martial law of Mr Marcos was very good,” the president said.
He added that his own version of martial law meant security forces could conduct searches and arrest people without warrants.
He also said there would be curfews for some provinces in Mindanao.
The Communist Party of the Philippines has urged its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to step up offences to resist martial law, potentially providing a pretext for its expansion.