THE military and police deployed 105 female troops to Marawi to help in the rehabilitation and rebuilding programs for the war-ravaged city.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año led the sendoff ceremony on Tuesday at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
“Marawi, the city of our Muslim brothers and sisters, has given importance to the women in our society. It’s part of the Filipino culture to protect and respect the women,” Año, said, explaining the sending of the all-female contingent.
Four of those deployed were military officials. The police sent one official.
Of the 100, 60 are enlisted Philippine Army officers and 40 were non-commissioned police officers.
Año said he and President Rodrigo Duterte talked with female officials and doctors in the main battle area when the Chief Executive visited Marawi City last week.
“Even if we can see that they were already exhausted, we have not heard of any complaints from them but rather, we can see through their eyes their joy,” he said.
The AFP chief said more troops will be deployed to support the first all-female batch.
The female soldiers and police will be in Marawi until the situation in the city returns to normal.
“That’s when their mission will end, so they will have to stay there,” he said.
Twenty of the female soldiers and police officers are married while 76 are single. They are a mix of Christians and Muslims.
“We have seen the skills of these women. They will be a big help in normalizing the situation especially to the victims of the Marawi war including the children, youth and of course, the women,” Año said.
As the military gears up for a big final battle with the Maute group, Año vowed that no terrorist will be able to leave or enter Marawi.
Send Maute to heaven
“That’s our main goal. No way out, no way in. If they want to join, they want to go to heaven as what they have said, so we will give them the chance to go to heaven,” he told reporters.
The military is on red alert in Mindanao as officials expect the Maute group to go on a rampage following the death of the Maute patriarch, Cayamora Maute, on Sunday.
The AFP chief is confident that Maute group leaders Isnilon Hapilon, Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute are still in Marawi.
“Anywhere they go, if they will attempt to reinforce or they will escape, we are ready to get them,” Año said.
“We expect a fierce confrontation with the Maute as they do their last stand,” he added.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said Monday that military units in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City and other parts of central Mindanao have been alerted against a possible rampage by Maute terrorists.
“We are not taking chances. These are terrorists and the only language they speak is terrorism,” Galvez said.
Local officials in vowed to help the military to thwart any incursion or attack by the Maute group.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, director of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the police Lanao del Sur and in Maguindanao have been on high alert since Sunday night.
Marawi City, which has more than 90 barangays, is the capital of Lanao del Sur.
with JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL