Maguindanao joins relief Missions for Marawi crisis » Manila Bulletin News

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By Ali Macabalang

The provincial government here has joined local and foreign relief missions for thousands of people displaced in the Marawi City crisis.

Affected residents of Marawi City line up to get medical assistance and relief goods from the local goverenment as they trooped to an evacuation center in a nearby town of Balo-i, Lanao Del Norte. (Mark Balmores) Manila Bulletin File Photo

As its initial dispatch yesterday (Wednesday), at least five trucks filled with fresh fish and packs containing rice, canned goods, bottled water, noodles and other ready-to-eat foods alongside basic medicines were sent to the embattled Maranao community.

This was announced by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael (Toto) Mangudadatu at an emergency meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) here Tuesday, during which he and military officials disclosed that notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon had sought refuge in this province before sneaking to Lanao del Sur to help the Maute group wage guerilla attacks in Marawi City.

Citing military information. Mangudadatu said Hapilon, whom the Islamic State (IS) leadership anointed as its frontline man in the Philippines, had met for weeks with guerillas of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the villages of Datu Salibo, a swampy town in Maguindanao.

“Intense surgical military operations (in Datu Salibo) scared him (Hapilon) to shift to Lanao del Sur,” the governor said. Mangudadatu asked all his mayors as well as police and military authorities to “never allow” the Abu Sayyaf leader and other IS-inspired militants to set foot again in Maguindanao.

“The miserable plight of our brethren in Marawi City should serve as a lesson for us to double efforts and guard our province from atrocities of IS-backed militants,” Mangudadatu told the PPOC meeting in vernacular.

The Crisis Management Committee (CMC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said lately it had accounted for at least 84,460 residents displaced in the Marawi crisis, adding the situation could drag on with “immense sufferings even after the end of the siege.”

It also reported that at least 3,717 individuals were still stranded in different suburbs in Marawi City and that 59 others were still “missing.”

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