Balo-i, Lanao del Norte: A total of 4,312 families or 18,490 individuals who have evacuated from Marawi City are now in the province of Lanao del Norte, and more are expected to arrive in the coming days.
Provincial Social Welfare Officer Annabelle Mendez said officials were coordinating with Balo-i municipal social workers to monitor the number of internally displaced persons, conduct individual profiling, and provide assistance to affected families.
Evacuees who fled Marawi City because of the armed conflict between the government forces and members of the Maute group, include children and the elderly.
Officials said 170 evacuees were at the Balo-i Municipal Gym and 1,378 were living with relatives. In Bacolod, there were 115 families; in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, 86 families; Tangcal, 1051 families; Matungao, 510 families; Magsaysay, 49 families; Maigo, 26 families; Tubod, 54 families; Sapad, 80 families; Kolambugan, 118 families; Kapatagan, 16 families; Linamon, 63 families; Tagoloan, 139 families; Lala, 25 families; and Salvador and Poona Piagapo, 37 families.
Christians working in a construction site in Kapay, Lidasan, Marawi City, natives of the municipalities of Tubod and Lala, Lanao del Norte, arrived at the Balo-i evacuation center on Wednesday, after traversing the forest areas of Marawi.
Construction worker Roberto Galvan said: “We hid for four nights and ate only bananas.”
Galvan said they hid themselves behind tall grasses and bushes, with no idea of what was happening even as they heard gunfire. They were rescued by a Muslim sultan.
Galvan said of the Maute men: “The others are still very young, still small but already carrying firearms, around 14. They are mixed, some are girls, beautiful mestizas but carrying firearms and very good at using their guns.”
Galvan was able to escape with his son Philip Louie, and Demokrito Maghinay with son Jhon. Other workers who were able to escape were Junvel Abroce, Arivel Basera, Edoy Bonggo and James Arances.
The ongoing Marawi crisis has affected thousands of students, prompting the Mindanao State University (MSU) in its main Marawi City campus to temporarily transfer enrolling students to its campus in Iligan City.
Among the affected students is Iriene Barbante, 20, who is taking up business administration in the main campus.
She is also among thousands of civilians who fled the besieged Marawi City last week, and stayed at evacuation centers in Iligan.
She does not have to miss summer classes and on-the-job training, however.
Habib Macaayong, MSU president, told The Manila Times he issued a memorandum on Thursday allowing the transfer of students to the MSU-Iligan Institute Technology or MSU-IIT.
The memo urged faculty members to resume the submission of grades at MSU-IIT’s College of Business Administration and Accountancy. Students may also cross-enrol in MSU-IIT.
Barbante was supposed to enrol this summer for practicum, a prerequisite for her graduation next year, but terrorists attacked her city.
She said she was with friends and classmates when they were about to submit requirements to get final grades and enrol for a practicum for summer, when they heard bursts of gunfire outside the Marawi campus.
She hid at first, but was told by her mother through a text message to run more than a hundred meters away to reach her uncle’s house inside the campus.
“My uncle’s house is concrete and is within a compound, so we felt safe during the long firefight,” she said.
They spent one night inside her uncle’s house without sleep, before they were evacuated the following day, she said.
She thanked the university leadership for securing the campus and thousands of students and faculty, particularly the non-Muslims.
Around 400 men have been securing the university since the Marawi crisis unfolded, Macaayong earlier said.
with RAUL DINAPO