ARMM mobilizes resources, rescue team attends to victims of Marawi crisis
Cotabato City (June2, 2017) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has established an operation and coordination center at the 6th (RedSkin) Infantry Battalion, Barangay Matling in the town of Malabang in Lanao del Sur that now serves as hub of information and mobilization of the region’s resources.
As of Wednesday, May 31, 3,023 individuals have been attended by the ARMM’s rescue team, which also served relief packs to 24,190 individuals in various evacuation centers. Around 218,665 individuals were in various designated evacuation areas or staying in the houses of their relatives.
Trauma, homes destroyed, civilians killed, and innocent children injured and exposed to violence are the images that describe the current situation in the Islamic City of Marawi.
After five days of being trapped in the town of Marantao, a few kilometers from Marawi City, the family of Rakimah Domaub, 36 and mother of three children, is now staying in the designated evacuation center in Purakan Elementary School in Balabagan, Lanao del Sur.
Rakimah, a teacher in Ilian Elementary School in Marantao, said she and her co-teachers were busy with Brigada Eskwela for the class opening on June 5 when sporadic firefights in Marawi City started.
While she and the other teachers were talking through phone calls on May 23, one of her co-teachers cried saying an unidentified group of armed men was waving black flags in Marawi City.
“Pagkatapos namin mag-usap, hindi ko na alam, biglaan na lahat ng pangyayari, narinig ko na ang putukan,” she said.
“Hindi ko maipaliwag ang takot na nararamadaman, hindi mo alam san ka pupunta, hindi mo alam sino ang kakampi mo, pag labas mo ng pinto hindi mo alam sino sasagip sayo, parang sa TV mo lang napapanood yung ganitong pangyayari, yun pala makaka-experience ka din,” Rakimah said.
She is worried of the adverse effect of the crisis to her children. “Kung ako lang, kaya ko i-handle ito, pero yung mga anak ko, yung mga bata, paano sila?” she asked.
The situation in Marawi, the acts of violence, and losing livelihood would surely affect the residents’ future, Rakimah said. She said she could not even answer questions from her five-year-old son how people could kill others and why the firefight does not stop.
“Pagkatapos ng gulo na ito, ano pa kaya ang babalikan namin, may paaralan pa kaya ang mga bata, di ko alam kung kailan kami makakabangon,” she said.
Rakimah said she does not even know how to shield her children from such horror and how she can help her children make sense of a tragedy that she herself could not understand.
“Imbes na nasa paaralan ang mga bata, heto nasaevacuation center nagtatago,” she said.
Rakimah is one of the thousands of victims praying that the firefight, the air strikes, and the military operation would end soon so they could go back to their homes.
Rakimah, with the other evacuees in Balabagan, received hygiene kits, free medical check-up, and relief packs from the ARMM government on May 31.
“The (order) of Governor Hataman is to check and quickly respond to internally displaced persons (IDPs), hangga’t may IDPs tutulong tayo,” Myrna Jo Henry, ARMM’s-HEART information officer said. (Bureau of Public Information)