Evacuees in tent city to Duterte: End war in Marawi, allow us to go home
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Speaking on behalf of his new neighbors in a recently opened tent city in a town near Marawi City, Alajadj Ismael Panarigan called on President Rodrigo Duterte to end the conflict in their city.
"Ang panawagan ko sa ating pangulo, sana matapos na ang giyera sa Marawi City para kung maari ay makabalik kami doon. Mr. President, talagang hirap kami dito sa evacuation center," Panarigan told Rappler.
(I call on our president to end the war in Marawi City so that we can return to our homes. Mr. President, living in an evacuation center is really hard.)
"Alanganin po kami rito kasi yung mga bata. Itong pinapasukan naming bahay, talagang mainit po talaga. Kailangan po namin ng banig, unan. Wala talaga kaming unan," Panarigan added.
(Life here is uncertain especially for the children. It's hot in our tent. We need mats and pillows. We don't have pillows.)
President Rodrigo Duterte made his second visit to a military camp in Marawi City on Friday, August 4, to speak to government troops on the frontline of the fight against the ISIS-inspired Maute Group. (IN PHOTOS: Duterte returns to Marawi)
“I have to be here because I want all of you to know that…(I love you). I hope you will be able to clean up Marawi City and get rid of the terrorists,” Duterte said in his message to the troops, Malacañang said in a statement.
The battle in Marawi reached a critical point on Thursday, August 3, about two weeks after martial law in Mindanao was extended. The battleground has shrunk, but local officials and evacuees fear that the humanitarian crisis will escalate as their resources run dry.
Tent city in Pantar
The tent city in Pantar, a town near Marawi City, is the second evacuation site where Panarigan and his wife and 7 children have sought refuge in since the crisis broke out in May.
They first stayed in Madrasa Campong in Pantar, Lanao del Norte. The Madrasa will now be converted back to classrooms for students learning Arabic lessons after the observance of the Eid’l Fitr.
The tent city will accommodate 109 families, according to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ocial worker in the evacuation site.
At least 78,466 families or 359,680 individuals have been displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi City, the DSWD said on Friday night.
The first time Duterte visited Marawi in the middle of fighting was last July 20, after two failed attempts.
There are an estimated 80 to 100 hostages still in the hands of terrorists. – Rappler.com