One year after Marawi siege: 70% returned home, thousands remain displaced

Marje Pelayo   •   May 23, 2018   •   4247





FILE PHOTO: UNTV Drone shot of Marawi City ruins


MANILA, Philippines – On May 23 last year, Islamic State-inspired militants started an uprising against the government in the city of Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

Abdullah and Omar Maute, together with Basilan fighters headed by Isnilon Hapilon, the then emir of Islamic State in South East Asia, attempted to establish a “caliphate” in the region by leading the militants to storm Marawi city, triggering a five-month battle that resulted in deaths of thousands of people, leaving the city that was once the center of trade and culture in southern Philippines, in total ruin.

One year after the chaos, more than half of the city’s population have gone back home. This was announced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque during a briefing at Malacañang on Tuesday, May 22, though he said conditions in the city remains far from normal. Government forces are still working to clear the main battle area of bombs, IEDs and other remnants of the fiercest battle in the modern-day Philippines.

“The good news is that, as far as the residents are concerned, 70 percent have gone back to their homes. We have provided temporary or permanent homes for them,” he said.

However, thousands of families remain displaced. It was not easy for the residents to start their lives anew as all their properties were destroyed by the war. Although their current earnings are not the same as before the war broke out, the internally displaced residents are still thankful for being able to return to their homes. And even with just a small income, they can still address their daily needs.

“Dati po maraming nakatira dito ngayon nahati na po kasi yung iba di pa bumabalik. Yung kita ko po di tulad dati nasa P700 isang araw ngayon pinakamalaki na P400 minsan P300,” narrated a resident, Bolkya Marohom Mbsar, who earns his living as a tricycle driver.

(Many people used to live here. Now there are only half as many because others have not yet returned. I used to earn P700 per day, this time the most I can earn is P400 -P300.)

Resident Mimang Malaco is also asking for aid from the government after using up her capital for the treatment of her ailing husband. For now, Mimang is just depending on the financial assistance she gets from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other private organizations.

“Iyong asawa ko po di makapagtrabaho kasi paralyze po. Gusto ko humingi ng tulong mismo sa mahal na pangulo,” she said.

(My husband is unable to work because he’s been paralyzed. I am appealing directly to our dear president.)

In a speech yesterday, May 22, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was taking full responsibility for the Marawi crisis.

“I did not anticipate or even guess that there would be so much ordnance and the fight would take us about four months to finish. All of these faults, if it is indeed one, or our faults, it belongs and it falls on my shoulders as commander-in-chief. And I assume full responsibility to the nation for what’s going to happen,” the President said.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday, May 21, announced that the government will have to allot P53.4 billion for the rehabilitation of the conflict-torn city. However, the fund does not cover the amount needed for the repair of the entire ground zero or the main battle zone. The government targets to completely rebuild Marawi by 2021. – Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

Lanao del Sur’s 5th most wanted felon falls in police-military encounter

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The fifth most wanted person in Lanao del Sur was killed during an encounter with the police and military troops on Wednesday (February 10).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command reported that the Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT5) and the Provincial Police Office conducted a joint operation in Barangay Molimoc Balabagan, Lanao del Sur.

Authorities were about to enter the vicinity of the suspect identified as Jayson Deniega when he immediately opened fire. The authorities retaliated leading to the shooting of Deniega. He was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Deniega is an identified hard killer, drug trafficker, and extortionist in the province.

Recovered items from the area include a .38 caliber firearm, a grenade, and several sachets of suspected illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, the local government of Buntong Bubong, and Ditsaan-Kamain turned over several firearms to the AFP after civilians surrendered them to authorities.

The surrendered firearms include three .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles, M79 grenade launcher, and a KG9 9mm submachine gun. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

P3.5-M worth of illegal cigarettes seized in Lanao del Sur – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday said its operatives in the Port of Cagayan de Oro have intercepted a truckload of cigarettes estimated to worth P3.5 million in Lanao del Sur.

The BOC said 68 master cases containing 3,400 reams of San Marino cigarettes were seized in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran on November 25.

The operation was launched by the BOC-Port of Cagayan de Oro, together with the Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office after receiving information about the transport of smuggled cigarettes from Zamboanga to some parts of Lanao del Sur.

The BOC said the illegal cigarettes were intercepted in a routine quarantine control checkpoint manned by the local police.

Suspects onboard the wing van were apprehended for “failure to present their quarantine pass and medical certificates.”

The BOC said that thorough inspection of the wing van revealed the carriage of cigarettes, which were found to be illegally imported after failure to present import permit and other necessary documents.

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the smuggled goods was issued in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), the bureau said.

The illicit cigarettes are set to be disposed of awaiting court order, it added.

MECQ in Lanao del Sur, GCQ in Metro Manila, five other areas starting October 1

Marje Pelayo   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Starting Thursday (October 1), new quarantine classifications will take effect across the country and will remain for a duration of one month, as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in his late night public address Monday (September 28).

The President approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to place under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) areas in the province of Lanao del Sur including Marawi City from October 1 to 31. 

Meanwhile, six areas in the country will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) after the end of September.

These include Metro Manila, Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Iligan City and Iloilo City.

The rest of the country will be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The President said he is pleased with how the local governments are responding to the crisis brought about by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He reiterated the national government’s readiness to respond and continue its services especially in the face of a pandemic despite the criticisms.

Mga kababayan ko, wag kayong masyadong maniwala diyan sa mga atake-atake (My countrymen, don’t listen to the attacks too much). It would just muddle up your mind,” he said.

Nandito kami (We are here). Our purpose is to serve and to work, if we cannot serve, and if we cannot work, then we might as well get out of the government as ask somebody else to take over,” the president concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)


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