Duterte: Liberation of Marawi marks beginning of rehab

Following the day after the top terrorist leaders of Marawi siege, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed in a military assault, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte(PRRD), declared the liberation of Marawi from the control of terrorists.

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“I hereby declare Marawi city liberated from the terrorist influence… that marks the beginning of rehabilitation,” said Duterte.

The president also commended the valor of the troops as they braved the dangers posed by gun fires and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in fighting against the terrorists and in rescuing hostages.

Symbolizing the achievement of victory against the terrorists, the President led the raising of the Philippine flag held at the Jamiatul Philippine Al-Islamia campus, located at the main battle area.

Ending of Crisis

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año  said in a press conference on Monday that “the Marawi crisis will be over–sooner than later. The resistance of–or what is left of it— the terrorists will crumble.”

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Meanwhile, Col Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao,  said that the death of terrorist leaders led to the declaration of Marawi’s liberation as they are the “center of gravity, they are the ones who are binding Maute-ISIS together.”

“It [the declaration] is a strategic message to tell the world na tapos na itong problema sa Maute-ISIS [that the problem with Maute-ISIS is over], na they cannot be victorious anymore. Patapos na po [This is about to end.],” said Brawner.

Beginning of Rehabilitation       

Brawner also asked the residents of the Marawi City to be patient as clearing operations of the area are being conducted.

“We will rescue remaining hostages and make sure na wala ng stragglers na naiiwan at mga IEDs [that there will be no longer stragglers and IEDs in the area].. tuloy na pa tayo [we are ready for]  sa next phase which is the rehabilitation,” Brawner said.

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Brawner also shared that the cleanup drive ‘Brigada Marawi’ has began last week.

The  Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams will also check and remove remained IEDs.

Meanwhile, Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) teams composed of various national and local government agencies had begun their assessment on the damages in 24 barangays in Marawi City.

The results of the data analysis, consolidation, and report development of the assessment is to be completed before October ends.(LEAntonio-PIA ILIGAN/LDN)

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AFP chief says safety of hostages being prioritized

Following the death of Marawi siege top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Eduardo M. Año, emphasized during the press conference held in Camp Ranao last October 16 that the safety of hostages was being prioritized in their operations.

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Año said that rescuing the hostages was the main goal of the troops that day.

 

He also said the group of Hapilon and Maute together with hostages was seen dashing from one building to another at around 1:30 a.m. with the intention to escape from the main battle area with the hostages.

 

“In our rescue operations, we are very careful. We do not fire on anybody carrying arms; we make sure na hindi hostage [that they are not hostages],” said Año.

 

Prioritizing the protection of the hostages, 20 were rescued including a two-month-old baby.

 

“It is worth the effort that we save a life. One additional life that we save is good enough and worth the effort,” he added.

 

Boosting the morale         

 

Año said that the death of the top leaders boosted the morale of the soldiers.

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“It will even inspire the armed forces, policemen and other law enforcement agencies to go after the remaining enemies and finish them all,” said Año.

 

“Nawala lahat ng pagod. Kahit walang tulog, walang pahinga, hindi makakain on time, lahat yun nawala,” he added.

 

[All of the exhaustion was gone. Even if they were not able to sleep, to rest, to eat on time; all of it was gone.]

 

Año also said that full support is the biggest recognition that soldiers can receive.

 

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “The biggest reward is that they did their job properly and being happy that it is over.”

 

Countering Backlash and Extremist Ideology

 

With the death of the two top leaders of Marawi siege, Año said that the military is ready for the possible retaliatory attacks from other terrorists.

 

“We have forces employed all around. Huwag mag alala [do not worry], but of course we need the supporting cooperation of the community na makapagreport ng [to report] suspicious persons immediately and we will take action,” said Año.

 

While there are plans to go after Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters when the Marawi conflict ends, Año said “We will make sure that there will be forces left behind in Marawi.”

 

“Kailangan pa rin ng pwersa dito, kasi tutulong sila sa reconstruction and rehabilitation ng Marawi,” he added.

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[Armed forces are still needed here, as they will be part of the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts for Marawi.]

 

Meanwhile, Secretary Lorenzana said that the government started initiatives to counter extremist ideology.

 

“We have talked with the ulamas (Muslim scholars) and imams (officiating priest of a mosque). I asked them to [monitor] madrasahs (Islamic schools); what they are teaching to the kids, and who are the teachers,” said Lorenzana.(LEAntonio-PIA ILIGAN/LDN)

Marawi hospital gets go signal to resume operation

The Department of Health (DOH) is doing necessary assessment and inventories to revive its health facility, Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, following a go signal from the Philippine Army to resume operation in the area.

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In a press conference in Iligan City command and coordinating center, Dr. Adriano Suba-an, assistant regional director of DOH region 10 said that the Philippine army has given them the go signal to resume operation of Amai Pakpak medical center in the area to provide health services to residents and evacuees of Marawi City.

Another good news, he said is that contrary to reports, they don’t have casualties from hospital personnel. Right now, they are planning with the chief of hospital regarding skeletal forces that will be deployed in the center.

“We are doing the assessment and we’re going to do the inventories. And we are going to calibrate our response, deployment based on the operations of the hospital,” said Suba-an.

If there is a need to deploy more, then we will do it,” he said.

“We are happy that we have a go signal from the military because that means the insurance of the safety of our personnel there,” added Suba-an.

Meanwhile, DOH is looking at the whole picture, the long range plan not just with the patients but for the human resources and physical facility of the hospital. Further, he said that health secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial issued a memorandum up to June 13 that all personnel of Amai Pakpak will do some stress debriefing. Some are crying, in trauma. They don’t want to be deployed there.

We would like to give the highest services needed by the people of Marawi, but we would also like to make sure that our personnel is equipped and ready to provide these services, Suba-an explained.

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On the other hand, Dr. Alinader Minalang, chief integrated provincial health office Lanao del Sur assured that they have not monitored any pattern of outbreak in the evacuation centers.

This is attributed to the health services we are providing, he said.

Our health personnel who are also evacuees themselves are able to operate our operation center with health emergencies and this is with the help of center for health development of region 10 especially in monitoring our evacuees both home based and in evacuation centers. Twenty five (25%) evacuees are in evacuation centers meanwhile 75% are home based or living with their relatives, Minalang said.

When it comes to diseases observed in the evacuation centers, most of them are due to harsh conditions, such as lack of sanitation facilities. Number one is upper tract respiratory infection, cough, fever, acute gastroenteritis, diarrhea especially on children. Next is hypertension and skin diseases because of congestion and hot temperature. (JMOR/PIA10)