Derechos | Equipo Nizkor
140 civilians trapped in Marawi fighting rescued
A respite in fighting negotiated by the peace implementing panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front paved the way for the rescue of more than a hundred civilians trapped in the fighting in Marawi City, Sunday.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in a Facebook post on Sunday, June 4 said a four-hour respite from the fighting from 8am to 12 nn recovered 140 trapped civilians including women, children and elderly.
Dureza quoted Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso saying: "The recovery and retrieval of trapped civs depends on the humanitarian space we negotiated with the maute (through a credible emissary) and bridging this to the highest military comdr. Today, we were able to secure a 4 hours (8am to 12nn) respite of the fighting and recovered 140 trapped civilians who were wounded, sick, undernourished, children, women and elderly. Tomorrow and the days after tomorrow will be full of challenges for the JCMAC in the peace corridor."
The creation of the peace corridor was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 29 with the aim of creating a space for humanitarian assistance in the war-torn city, barely a week after declaring Martial Law in Mindanao.
In a press conference held here on Saturday, Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF Implementing Panel said the peace corridor is under the supervision of the two implementing panels of the government and the MILF.
He said as of Saturday afternoon, the teams on the ground were able to enter the area after succeeding to get a two-hour respite of bombardment from the military.
"The last information that we have just received this afternoon in my meeting with Madam Irene Santiago, that they have succeeded to request the military for 2 hours respite on the bombardment and the use of heavy weapons para makapasok sila," he said.
Iqbal said the peace corridor helps in providing "opportunities to improve the situation."
"At least we have opened so many opportunities na ma-improve natin yung situation natin sa ground as far as relief for the evacuees," he said.
The JCMAC or the Joint Coordinating, Monitoring and Assistance Center was set up in Marawi and Malabang.
Santiago, in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday, June 2 said there is also a mobile center passing through the corridor.
She said "more than 300 trained members of the joint peace and security teams are being deployed throughout the length of the corridor and will be augmented as the need arises."
"The peace corridor is more than a safe passage for people and goods. In working jointly to deal with this humanitarian crisis, the government and the MILF are also building a major corridor to peace," Santiago added.
[Source: By Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano, Davao Today, Davao City, 05Jun17]
Islamic paramilitary organizations
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