From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 4): Feature: Fighting the plight against the spite of Maute terrorists
The untroubled and typical daily grind of life among the ordinary people who were working in Marawi City from different neighboring towns was put to test when violence broke out caused by the Islamic-State-linked Maute group on May 23, 2017.
For an 18-year old lad, Tito Abringab, who labored as a gasoline boy in Gadungan, Marawi City, it was a breakneck instance when a horrible scene exposed before his eyes at around 2:00 p.m. of that day.
“I had witnessed the hostile acts of the terrorists while I was doing my usual job. They flagged down the vehicles along the lanes and aggressively made harassments to the fearful civilians,” expressively recalled Abringab.
Adrenaline made his shake harder at the thought of getting his life into undeserved trouble. But with the mindfulness of Abringab’s employer, he and his co-workers were immediately brought to the former’s residence to take safe refuge.
As the worst situation progressed, the Philippine Army troupe was in swift response. In less than a day, Abringab heard them knocking the door where he hid and helped him withdraw from that dangerous spot. He was brought to the detachment of 103rd Brigade for safekeeping.
The rescue operation was even strengthened when President Rodrigo Duterte declared the Martial Law over Mindanao.
The same help was accorded to the family of Arman Suoong, his wife Lyn-Lyn and five months old daughter.
“In our eight years of habitation in this city, this is the first time when we are terror-struck at the apprehension of losing not only the humble and tangible properties we gained out from our hard work but of losing our lives,” he admitted.
Suoong sadly described their fate of keeping awake in a pitch-black experience while hearing the ear-piercing shriek of his hungry baby in the midst of power outage.
“We are very thankful to the government and Army forces for faithfully doing their job to assist us in this time of crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lina Cabanilla, a 28-year old mother of a 2-year old child, expressed her indebtedness to 2nd Lieutenant Junrey Villamor and his troupe for providing them food and granting them appropriate treatment during their stay in the detachment.
“I salute our soldiers for protecting us and upholding our human rights,” said Yuri Cabanilla, a rice mill worker and husband of Lina.
Public servants at work
In the midst of continuing state of conflict and tragic rebellion, the innocent civilians’ ordeal was quelled after temporary taking shelter at the Army detachment for eleven days.
On Saturday morning of June 3, the successful coordination of the Naawan and Initao local disaster risk reduction and management office (LDRRMO), its local government unit (LGU), Philippine Army and PNP personnel, the civilians were rescued after experiencing the terrible fright from the violence and inhumane acts of the Maute.
Given the clearance for safe passage, they were transported at around 10:30 a.m. traversing a safe route in going back to their respective town of origin.
They also claimed that they were given sacks of rice for consumption by their thoughtful rice mill employer as they have lost their jobs due to the prevailing situation in Marawi City.
According to Naawan Municipal Mayor Jaime Roa, they are working hand-hand to help save and secure the lives of their affected constituents.
“We cannot afford to abandon our brothers and sisters and deprive them from their right to be defended by the rightful authorities,” enunciated Roa.
At around 10:00 p.m. a convoy of two forward cargo trucks safely arrived in Iligan City, an area free from Maute infestation, and proceeded directly to Naawan and Initao, all of Misamis Oriental.
“We are relieved to see them arrived and we promptly look after their needs by providing them food for dinner from a long travel. We deeply appreciate the good-hearted employers who lend their vehicles to be used in transporting them. After the profiling of these 14 displaced individuals, we will endorse them to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development for debriefing,” said PSInsp Jay Francis Estigoy of Naawan, Municipal Police Station.
More or less 87 individuals were rescued and were sent back to their respective municipalities and more are still to be rescued.
“Coordination is still ongoing to our counterparts. It’s good to note that none of them has sustained injuries,” said Paul Cezzane Abrea, Naawan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer.
For the displaced individuals, survival from the warfare can be made possible by risking without firing a bullet against the enemy.
The administration is incessantly directing its efforts toward relieving the plight and fright from the terrorist attacks in parts of the country.