Prayers for Marawi as we celebrate 119th Independence Day

The announcement of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año that by today, as we celebrate our country’s 119th anniversary of independence, the Philippine flag will be flying in Marawi City, tells us of the challenges in keeping our country safe while maintaining a vibrant democracy. That a part of our country is not in the control of government shows how serious the challenges are.

“The chief of staff made an announcement hoping that by Monday, we can freely wave our flags in every corner of Marawi and we are working feverishly to do that, to ensure we are able to do to a big extent what was announced by the chief of staff,” Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a Malacañang briefing last Friday.

Next day, we got the devastating report that 13 Marines were killed in action and 40 other soldiers were wounded in a 14-hour ferocious battle with Islamic militants to liberate the city.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, military spokesperson said in Manila, said 40 other soldiers were wounded in a “raging close quarter combat.”

The death of the 13 Marines brought to 58 the number of government troops killed in the Marawi conflict which started last May 22 when government forces raided a place where Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, with a $5 million prize on his head over offered by the U.S. government over and above multi-million peso prize set by the Philippine government, was staying.

The fierce fighting that ensued led to the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao by President Duterte on May 23.

Pres. Duterte visits soldiers wounded in the Marawi battle at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. He honored them with medals for their bravery. Malacañang photo.

Documents, video and other materials obtained by the military showed Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group joining forces to take control of Marawi. They also gave the public an idea of the extent of the implementation of that plan which explains the intensity of the fighting.

The fighting, which is going into its third week, also indicates strong connection with the dreaded ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) which the local Islamists have been wanting to be part of.

Carol Arguillas of Mindanews said a total of 1,626 civilians trapped in the conflict zone have been rescued as of June 9 but some 500 to 1,000 trapped civilians and around a hundred hostages, including Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the Vicar-General of the Prelature of Marawi, are still awaiting rescue as air strikes continued to pound on areas believed held by the Maute Group.

Arguillas’ report on the ground in Marawi are heart-rending.

Her report Sunday , “Preparing for the worst in Marawi: From rescue to retrieval” said, “As bombs dropped from the skies on areas held by the Maute Group Friday, the Provincial Crisis Management Committee (PCMC) spent the day meeting with agencies to prepare for the retrieval of the dead in the conflict zone once the military declares these areas cleared.”

On Saturday, Day 18 of the conflict, she reported an interview with lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, PCMC Coordinator and member of the Secretariat, who said rescue operations to save lives remains the priority.

Sinarimbo added, “we are also conscious of the fact that the fighting has dragged on for a long time and as the day passes by, we have to contend with the reality that the chances of survival especially of those who have been injured decreases.”

Rescuers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front team in the Government-MILF Peace Corridor aid an elderly male out of the conflict zone on June 4, 2017 in Marawi City during a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire negotiated between the government and the Maute Group by an emissary.Photo courtesy of BANGSAMORO NEWS

More from Arguillas’ report:

“Rescuers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the government-GPH Peace Corridor on June 4 saw a number of cadavers on the roadside but could not collect them as the priority was to get trapped civilians out. Rescued civilians as well narrated having seen decomposing bodies along the way.

“Ariel Amerol, manager of the Bangsamoro Development Agency and one of the volunteer rescuers on June 2 said they saw one body of a civilian along Gomisa Avenue on the way to Banggolo District but they were informed there were more bodies in the interiors.

“The retrieval protocols will consider religious and cultural practices, Sinarimbo said, adding “we will first consult with our Ulama here given the requirements of SOCO for identification and the impossibility of doing identification by secondary means” and the tradition observed by Muslims to bury the dead within 24 hours.

“Marawi is predominantly Muslim.”

What a way to mark Independence Day.

June 12, 2017 6:44 am  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Military, Mindanao

10 Responses

  1. MPRivera - June 12, 2017 7:54 pm

    marawi is still under siege YET the respected OPPOSITION in the senate and congress together with their die hard supporters are doing nothing but malign and fault the president in his decisions to contain the crisis.

    soldiers are dying to reclaim the city of marawi, but no member of the opposition ever offer condolences and comforting words for the orphaned nor recognition for their sacrifice.

    we are losing the war not because the enemy is superior than our armed forces BUT because of the uncooperative and selfish attitude of the opposition who, since last election sour grape to their party’s loss.

    if one cannot help or offer any help, why can’t just keep his mouth shut?

  2. batangpasig - June 13, 2017 5:48 am

    Because we are a democracy where free dialog and discussions are allowed and encouraged, the more we should ventilate our thoughts and opinions on a most critical issue as the war and martial rule in Mindanao.

    Let me be clear that I for one fully support this government’s efforts to stamp out a band of extremists who are bent on imposing an ideology so anathema to our culture and history.

    Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

  3. Tilamsik - June 13, 2017 1:49 pm

    Are we losing the war in Marawi? akala ko magaling, matapang, mag jet-ski, bakit talo..?? asan ang galing nya?? Akala ko pati United Nations kaya nyang itumba? Marawi lang iyak na?? Ipakita nya ang galing at tapang nya ngayon??

    Napa-ihi sya sa kanyang salawal… kasalanan ng oposisyon..??? Akala ko magaling..!!

  4. MPRivera - June 13, 2017 7:18 pm

    tilamsik, pansinin mo kung anong malaking kaibahan ng pamumuno ni digong sa istilo ni ngoyngoy. kahit kailan ay hindi nagawa ni ngoyngoy yung maglagari sa pagbisita sa mga burol ng mga kawal at pulis na namatay at mga nasugatan sa bakbakan. hindi siya nahihiyang ipakita sa tao ang tunay na siya sa pagluha dahil sa panghihinayang sa mga buhay na nabuwis upang ang mamamayang kanilang sinumpaang ipagtanggol ay malayo o maligtas sa kapahamakan, kabilang na ako at maging ikaw.

    move on, na. baka mag jet ski siya kapag nagpasagasa na sa tren sina ngoyngoy at abaya.

  5. MPRivera - June 13, 2017 7:30 pm

    ang nangyayari sa marawi ay mabubuksan na dahil dito. simula pa lamang iyan at yung mga walang ginawa kundi ngumawa at pulaan ang adminsitrasyon sa kabila ng masigasig na pagganap sa mga dapat gawin ay sila ang unang maghahanap ng lugar na pagtataguan.

    sana ay maagapan ito ng mga kinauukulan dahil katulad ng paglusob ng ng maute terror group sa marawi ay hindi ito giyera sa pagitan ng mga relihiyon at paniniwala KUNDI labanan ito ng mabuti at masama. bahala na ang tao kung saan sila papanig, saan sila sasama.

    Islamic State calls for attacks in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan

    new.mb.com.ph

  6. MPRivera - June 13, 2017 7:30 pm

    Islamic State calls for attacks in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan

    news.mb.com.ph

  7. Tilamsik - June 14, 2017 1:20 pm

    I agree with you, that is why I am not supporting the opposition, that is why I did not vote for them.

  8. MPRivera - June 15, 2017 6:39 pm

    kahit ano’ng gawin ni digong upang ipadama sa mga tao na isa siyang lider at hindi basta pinuno ay tuloy pa din ang pagpapabagsak sa kanya ng oposisyon sa tulong ng bayarang media. sundot kasi sa kanilang kunsensiya yung mga nakikita nilang magandang relasyon ng pangulo sa bawat empleyado ng gobyerno na nagbubunga ng mataas na respeto ng mga tao.

    bilang commander-in-chief ay pinapatunayan ni pdigong na sa hanggang sa huling sandali ng mga kawal na namatay sa labanan ay nandoon siya upang magbigay pugay sa kanilang kabayanihan at damayan ang mga naulila at maglaan ng tulong at ayuda para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak na naiwan. gayundin, hindi niya nakakaligtaang dalawin at pataasin ang morale ng mga nasugatan at ipadama na mayroong “isang ama” na handang kumalinga at sumuporta sa kanila.

  9. Tilamsik - June 15, 2017 6:53 pm

    Facts:

    He promised to eradicate drugs in 3 months… thousands of poor ordinary people murdered, giant drug lords in Fiesta mood, living in paradise.

    He compared himself to HITLER, I can see that.

    I thought he is tough, he doesn’t even have anti insurgency tech plan. Young soldiers died, poor souls.

    Accomplishment: abled to burry a Dictator in the LNMB. Congrats..!!

  10. vic - June 16, 2017 12:47 am

    During Our Long Missions in AfGhanistan, 159 of our service men and women offered the ultimate sacrifice and total number of soldiers injured in nine years of war reached 1859 of which 1244 of these were are listed non battle injuries and 615 as WIA (wounded in Action)

    And every Fallen Heroes were brought home and the Same Protocol were given each…The hero or heroes were transported by the C-130 to the Trenton AirBase where the Families and Military and Govt Officials will meet and welcome them home with military honour…then the Bodies will be driven in a Convoy thru the HIGHWAY OF HEROES TO THE CORONER’s OFFICE IN Downtown Toronto for official certification of Death…(mostly formalities) and will be driven back to the Base…and will give the Opportunity to the PUBLIC to watch their fallen HEROES as they were passing thru the Highway of Heroes for their Final Journey..

    Then the next of KINS will decide if they wanted the heroes or hero be interned in the NATIONAL cemetary or bring the body home closer to the family..

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