Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lanao Norte ready to house fleeing Marawi residents

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Lanao Norte ready to house fleeing Marawi residents

The provincial government of Lanao del Norte said on Wednesday it is ready to receive evacuees following the violence in Marawi City Tuesday.

In a telephone interview, Lyndon Calica, Lanao del Norte information officer, said Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to prepare for the influx of displaced residents from Marawi.

“The governor has ordered the mobilization of the quick response team in case evacuees will arrive from Marawi,” Calica said.

He said the provincial government has readied evacuation centers in the towns of Balo-i and Pantar, towns on the borders of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

Calica said that security forces have also been augmented, especially in the two provinces’ boundaries in case the hostilities between government troopers and the Maute terror group will spillover to Lanao del Norte.

The local government of Iligan City, where most of the fleeing Marawi residents sought temporary shelter, has also set up two evacuation sites for the evacuees.

Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz said Wednesday afternoon that the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) has identified the Iligan City National School of Fisheries in Barangay Buru-un and the Iligan City National High School in Barangay Mahayahay as evacuation centers.

“The CDRRMO has already been advised to prepare food packs and other basic necessities for the evacuees,” Vera Cruz said.

As of press time, however, most of the evacuees are staying with their relatives or in their second homes in Iligan, he said.

“What we are looking at are those poor who have nowhere to go. The evacuation center is open for them,” Vera Cruz, a priest who sought a leave to run for Vice Mayor of Iligan City in 2016, said.

Senior Superintendent Leony Roy Ga, Iligan City police chief, said that more police personnel have been deployed to conduct checkpoints to prevent the terror group from entering the city.

Ga said they have received intelligence reports that the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf are also targeting Iligan.

Authorities could not yet give the exact number of civilians fleeing Marawi but reports said it has now gone by the thousands, most of them Christians who worked and reside in Marawi City.

According to reports, the evacuees were on board private and public vehicles taking with them whatever belongings they could bring.

An evacuee told reporters that they could see members of the Maute Group just outside their window as gunfire crackled in the distance.

The flow of evacuees had caused traffic congestion along the national highway in Barangay Suarez in Iligan, as policemen and soldiers manning the checkpoint there had to stop every vehicle coming from Marawi to check the passengers and their cargoes.

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