From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Troops start clean-up drive in Marawi
Government forces have been deployed to undertake clean-up operation of the “grimy and ruined streets” as fighting continues in the “main battle area” of the besieged city of Marawi.
The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said in a statement e-mailed to the Philippine News Agency that security personnel, armed with brooms, grass cutters, bolo and white wash, roamed in areas of the city already declared “cleared” of enemy presence.
The clean-up drive initiated by the Joint Task Force Tabang headed by Col. Thomas Sedano is dubbed as “Kaplimpiyo tano ko Kalilintad” in Maranao, which means in Tagalog as “Maglinis tayo para sa kapayapaan (Let us clean for peace).
The target areas of the clean-up drive are the roads in Barangays Emie Punud, Matampay, Sarimanok, Marawi poblacion and Malalat.
Utilizing all the Civil Military Operation units available, the group was successful in cleaning up what was left of the fighting after Daesh-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.
Sedano said they “will do it little by little” since they lack manpower to undertake clean-up drive.
But Sedano said they will ensure that the streets will not look as grubby and filthy as how it appeared to be before “we started cleaning up,”
“Our primary intention is to avoid an epidemic that could plague our communities by the time residents of Marawi (City) will be allowed to come back,” the Westmincom said, quoting Sedano said saying.
The clean-up drive for religious icons such as mosques was launched on Saturday, August 19, in Barangay Lilod, Tulali, Marawi City.
Around 15 policemen and a team of soldiers cleaned and undertake minor repairs of the Saad Huzam Almusairi Masjid located in the area.
Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan, Joint Task Group PNP commander, said they deployed Maranao policemen to undertake clean-up of mosques “to specifically address cultural sensitivity issues,”
“They are the proper persons who know how to do the job without violating religious practices and beliefs,” Anduyan said.
“We will continue doing this in partnership with the police so that mosques that have been preserved will be able to cater Moslem believers immediately by the time we give a green light for soldiers to go back to their homes,” Brig. Gen. Joselito Rolando Bautista, Joint Task Force Marawi commander, said.
He said the next in line for clearing are mosques inside the Main Battle Area.
“Your uniformed troops will be continually involved in rehabilitation activities within and outside Marawi City,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief said.