Don’t go to Marawi yet, Abella urges group who wish to come back
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella urged the followers of a movement led by citizens of Marawi not to return to the city even if the fighting between the military and the Maute-Abu Sayyaf Group is not finished yet.
“For the safety of everyone, it is better to just wait for the end of hostilities and the completion of clearing operations,” said Abella in a statement on Sunday.
The group which calls itself Occupy Marawi is threatening to march into Marawi City on July 24 where fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Maute-Abu Sayyaf group has been taking place since May 23.
The members of this group said they just want to home and will not pick a fight with anyone as they have been “suffering in evacuation centers”, news reports said
Abella said while the government “understand the sentiment of residents of Marawi wanting to return home”, he added Malacanang Palace is “concerned with the safety and welfare of all civilians, especially women and children.”
“There is no assurance that areas outside the main battle zone are already safe to reside and live in, as incidents of cases of stray bullet victims have been reported,” said Abella.
“In addition, the clearing of the entire city of Marawi of IEDs and boobytraps left by terrorists, unexploded ordnance and other explosives is still ongoing. The danger and risks these pose still remain high,” he added,
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial for 60 days law in the whole of Mindanao on May 23, when the Maute-Abu Sayyaf occupied Marawi City. Military rule is set to end in a week and Duterte is waiting for the recommendation of the police and the military whether to extend martial law. DMS