• Group seeks end to Marawi air strikes

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    COTABATO CITY: The One Bangsamoro Movement (1Bangsa), a cause-oriented Muslim group, reiterated their appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to stop air strikes and declare a ceasefire in Marawi City to allow teams to rescue civilians, especially the wounded, women and children.

    Alan Balangi-Amer, 1-Bangsa president, told The Manila Times his group is sad that no congressman from Lanao del Sur had sought an end to the air strikes that have affected not only the civilians but ironically the military itself.

    Balangi-Amer was referring to an air strike that was miscalculated by the military, hitting instead government forces and killing 11 soldiers.

    Ayobkhan Saripada, public information officer of Marawi-based Saksi Islamic Radio Forum & Kazalim-bago Movement, said after 10 days of fighting, the Armed Forces of the Philippines finally penetrated strategic points of Marawi City on Thursday.

    According to Saripada, the troops were able to cross the new bridge connecting Barangay Mapandi and Barangay Liloda Madaya, then the old bridge from Barangay Saduc going to Barangay Banggolo and the Pumping Bridge linking Barangay Bubonga Marawi to Barangay Raya Masaya.

    The 1-Bangsa suggested creation of a task force and rescue team to be composed of ulama, sultans, members of the academe and members of the CSOs.

    Saripada said the military should not block the entry of food supplies to the affected municipalities since not only the 200,000 population of Marawi are suffering from food shortages but other municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

    Meanwhile, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has set up a relief operation center in the town of Malabang, Lanao del Sur to coordinate and manage its humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis in Marawi.

    The regional government continues to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced families.
    As of Wednesday, it had served around 134,420 internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are either home-based or in evacuation centers.

    The Malabang relief operation center, headed by the ARMM’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will facilitate the management and coordination of the resources and efforts gathered by the regional government in response to the crisis.

    ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the center is tasked to provide “an effective, integrated and collective response to the immediate needs of displaced families.”

    The ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) recorded a total of 218,665 IDPs as of May 31, with 3,023 trapped in Marawi City.

    The fighting has also affected 92 public schools and 90 private schools.

    Pombaen Kader, DSWD-ARMM assistant secretary, said the operation and coordinating center in Malabang will help the region optimize its relief assistance to the affected residents.

    “It will serve as the hub of information and the mobilization of our resources,” she added.

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