From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): ARMM ready to distribute 20,000 food packs for Marawi attack victims
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Action and Response Team (ARMM - HEART) is on standby to distribute some 20,000 food packs to displaced families in Marawi City brought about by an attack staged since Tuesday by the Maute Group.
Myrna Jocelyn Henry, ARMM – HEART media relations officer, said the relief goods are currently prepositioned in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, awaiting the go-signal of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman for them to enter the Marawi area with the clearance from military authorities.
Malabang town is only some 45 minutes away from Marawi City, which is also in Lanao del Sur.
“We are ready,” Henry said, citing that ARMM – HEART personnel have initially entered Marawi on Wednesday to get first – hand information and assess the situation of evacuees on the ground.
Initially, she said massive evacuations were monitored in the villages of Basak Malutlut, Caloocan, Banggolo and Abubakar, all situated in Marawi’s first district.
Henry stressed that another 4,000 relief packs, together with 10,000 bottled waters, are still being readied by ARMM – HEART for dispatch to Marawi City.
She said the Regional Governor’s Office listed some 800 individuals seeking refuge at the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol in Marawi.
Hataman, in a hastily called press conference on Wednesday following a Regional Peace and Order Council meeting, said 50 percent of Marawi City residents have so far evacuated and have sought refuge in the nearby cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
As of the 2015 census, Marawi has a total population of 201,785 individuals.
“Unfortunately, potshots from snipers could still be heard across the city,” Hataman said.
The governor confirmed the abduction of eight persons, which include Catholic priest Chito Suganob.
Hataman also said the attackers also freed a total of 107 inmates – 68 from the provincial jail and another 39 from the city jail.
“Amid these incidents, I believe that the national government, including the ARMM, is on top of the situation as all its branches, including the military and police, are functioning well in the performance of their jobs,” Hataman said.
The governor said the groups behind the Marawi siege are the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group that have formed an alliance under the Dawla Islamiyah, which is controlled by Isnilon Hapilon, the so-called emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Philippines. Hapilon is a senior Abu Sayyaf leader.