By Zea C. Capistrano
DAVAO CITY – A day before the fighting in Marawi turns to its 100th day, 35 child evacuees will set their foot for the first time in Manila to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The children aged 7 to 13 years old are among the participants to the five-day educational tour dubbed “Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children” organized by the provincial government and the Philippine Army to provide them “exposure to peaceful environments.”
Government troops assist “bakwits” from war-torn Marawi City, most of them children. (Photo courtesy of GMA News/Manila Bulletin)
They travelled more than 1,496 kilometers to set foot for the first time in Manila with 11 guardians, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia of the Joint Task Force Marawi told Manila Bulletin in an interview.
He said the children were identified as among those “vulnerable and susceptible to violent extremism.”
The evacuees were expected to arrive from Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City past 6 pm Monday, Aug. 28.
The children are scheduled to meet with President Duterte in Malacañan around 2:30 pm, Tuesday.
Their itinerary also includes a visit to the Mind Museum, National Museum, Ocean Park, and Fort Santiago. The educational trip will culminate on Friday, Sept. 1.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the JTF Marawi and the 1st Infantry Division described the educational trip as their initiative “to ensure that children displaced by the crisis in Marawi City are given adequate support and psychosocial treatment by the government.”
“It is imperative that at the initial stage, those deemed vulnerable are being guided and educated to know their roles in mainstream society,” Bautista said.
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