‘Peace corridor’ opened to send relief in Marawi city » Manila Bulletin News



By Genalyn Kabiling and Yas Ocampo

Another “peace corridor” has been opened to send more food and other relief aid amid reports of soaring food prices in the conflict-torn Marawi City, chair of the government peace panel Irene Santiago said.

“There is a rising food crisis. One sack of rice is now P5,000,” Santiago said during the “Mindanao Hour” briefing in Davao City.

Residents of Marawi City line up to get medical and relief assistance at an evacuation center in Balo-I, Lanao del Norte, as the number of evacuees continue to rise, May 30, 2017. The residents fled from their homes when government troops started bombarding the lairs of Maute terrorists. (Mark Balmores|Manila Bulletin)

“So it is important that we secure the passageway around the lake so that we can bring food assistance in and we can bring food prices down,” said Santiago, who is spearheading the “peace corridor” campaign.

The peace corridor is a joint project of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels to hasten the rescue and humanitarian operations for civilians affected by the conflict. More than a hundred trapped civilians were rescued during the four-hour humanitarian ceasefire last Sunday.

Santiago, who leads the panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, noted that a team comprising representatives from the GPH and the MILF implementing a ceasefire mechanism was sending an emissary with the Maute group to allow for the said third corridor.

According to Santiago, the third corridor would be opened as soon as the emissary recovers from sickness.

“The emissary going between the Maute Group as well as the military has taken ill, and so we are waiting for him to get better,” Santiago said.

Meanwhile, the second corridor had been opened Wednesday with the help of a ceasefire mechanism with the MILF, Santiago said.

“Several organizations and groups have been able to send food, medicines, and humanitarian aid, food aid,” she said.

Among these were the government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Bangsamoro Development Authority and the International Committee on the Red Cross.

The first corridor was opened last Sunday, with volunteers eventually having to stop the operations when gunshots erupted from unknown directions.

Since Sunday this week, the conflict area has seen at least two peace corridors that have allowed for the movement of civilians and goods such as food and medicines inside Marawi City.

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