Philippines Army Pledges to Arrest People for ‘Unhelpful’ Tweets

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By Kieran Corcoran | 6:56 am, May 27, 2017
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Military commanders in the Philippines have threatened to arrest people who post things which are not “helpful” on social media in a crackdown on free speech.

Part of the Asian nation is under martial law as government forces battle an Islamist uprising, giving the military new powers over civilian life.

(Soldiers are pictured above on operations in the city of Marawi early Saturday)

As such, a military officials told tweeters in the country to think twice before they post about the situation, in case they end up in prison.

According to a report from the AFP news agency, a military spokesman told a press conference:

We’ll exercise the right to censor… One, to ensure the safety of lives, second to ensure operational security and ensure the safety of our men in uniform who are fighting, and for other national security considerations

That’s why we are appealing to you now while there’s still time, to exercise your common sense, he said. If you know that this will harm the public and will not be helpful, better not post it because police might come to your door later on and arrest you.

He also said the military would start censoring the mainstream media, and would block information it fears will compromise its operations.

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte enacted martial law earlier this week to combat an Islamic insurgency in Mindanao, the nation’s southernmost island.

Duterte’s rule, which began in 2016, has been accompanied by a significant increase in the use of force by the government.

His much-publicised war on drugs in has seen as many as 7,000 people killed, amid accusations that he has been encouraging extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers.

President Trump reportedly praised his “unbelievable job” combating illegal drug use in a phone call last month.