This was how President Rodrigo R. Duterte described the country after he returned from his shortened official visit Wednesday due to the incursion of the local terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City since Tuesday. The terrorists also set fire to a school and jail. It was not clear from his statement how damaged the buildings were by the arson.
Mindanao makes up roughly one-third of the country and is home to 20 million people.
The militants also reportedly took over a medical center and replaced the Philippines flag with a black, ISIS-style banner.
The fighting erupted on Tuesday after security forces raided a house in Marawi where they believed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang and Philippine head of IS, was hiding.
"Any assertion by any world leader, including, US President Donald Trump, that Duterte is doing "an unbelievable job" by cheerleading a murderous campaign that has killed more than 7,000 Filipinos is not only a gross insult to those victims and their family members, but sends a signal to Duterte and his willing executioners that their lawless killing spree can continue with a vengeance without fear of worldwide criticism and repercussions", said Phelim Kline of Human Rights Watch.
Marcos himself declared martial law in 1972, using the maneuver to help him maintain his grasp on power for almost a decade.
Thousands of civilians fled fighting in the Philippines on Wednesday as troops tried to fend off Islamist militants who took over large parts of a city, capturing Christians, seizing and torching buildings and setting free scores of prisoners.
Trump has said "a major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible and that all options are on the table, but his administration says it wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically with the aid of tougher sanctions. However he said the bodies of only two militants had been recovered and the other reported deaths could not be independently verified.
"We beg every Filipino to pray fervently", said Father Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. "They really have the means because a great degree of their stuff come through China", Mr. Trump said, adding: "But if China doesn't do it, we will do it". He said he would decide after the Cabinet meeting later Wednesday. "It's very consistent in developing relations with other countries on (a) mutually beneficial basis and on the basis of mutual respect".
He said he would consider some security measures in the central Visayas region next to Mindanao to facilitate arrests, and could even declare martial law nationwide. "I will be staying behind".
The Indonesian government hopes that the martial law will not affect the safety of seven Indonesians now being held by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.
In his arrival speech, Duterte reiterated that he will deal with the militants "harshly" after declaring martial law.
"Just take care of yourself, and we will take care of North Korea".
"To my countrymen who have experienced martial law".
Current estimates are as high as 8,000, based on figures released by the police and independent counts by human rights groups and media.
At this point, there are a lot of questions about the way martial law will be implemented here in Mindanao.
The Maute has been blamed for a bombing that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte's hometown, last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives.
The Maute and Abu Sayyaf have proved fierce opponents for the military.
"They are merely courting the acclamation of ISIS which until now they haven't received".
In April past year, ISIS announced it was appointing Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Filipini as its emir in the Philippines. He pledged allegiance to Daesh in 2014. But the complex attack on Marawi this week is the most ambitious yet.