By Ali G. Macabalang
Marawi City – Shortly after yesterday’s conduct of shortened convergent Eid’l Fitr prayers, workers of the “peace corridor” of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) conducted quick rescue efforts for residents still trapped in their respective residences in this strife-torn city.
Rescue volunteers mostly MILF cadres accompanied by Marawi City’s Agakhan “Bin Laden” Sharief started retrieval efforts on areas deemed by security forces as “war zones” in this city where about 1,000 residents are believed to be trapped since the start of fighting here on May 23.
“When you hear calls via megaphones, please come out immediately and identify yourselves. You have to be quick because of possible sabotage and in deference to the limited period of ceasefire,” Drieza Lininding, a fellow worker of Sharief, said in text messages and Facebook posts directed to trapped residents.
The unprecedented rescue efforts started shortly after 9:30 a.m. but there were no reports of residents being rescued as of press time yesterday.
Two major “peace corridors” have been established in this city and along the highway between here and Malabang, Lanao del Sur since June 4 on joint undertaking by the government and MILF panels mainly for the smooth delivery of relief goods and services to people displaced by the Marawi crisis.
Yesterday’s unprecedented massive rescue operation was timed with the military’s declaration of ceasefire from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the safe conduct of Eid’l Fitr congregational prayers here.
Meanwhile, some ethnic Muslim evacuees and professionals yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the inflow of Israel government’s relief assistance announced lately by Red Cross authorities for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Through the social media Facebook, about half of over a dozen of netizens welcomed the Israeli aid while the other half called for prudent examination of the assistance in the form of medicines.
Those in favor said people “have no choice but to receive in time of distress,” while others said the Israelis “are known enemies of Muslims and their medicines could be laced with something else.”
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