179 rescued during 4-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Marawi
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A total of 179 trapped residents were rescued on Sunday, June 4, after the military declared a 4-hour unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Marawi City.
"It was a highly tense half-day until we got some trapped civilians out and our MILF rescue teams returned. No mishaps, thank God. The peace corridor enabled 134 people to come out safely," said Irene Santiago, chairperson of the government peace panel, on her Facebook page. (Editor's note: The previous number of rescued hostages was 134, but Malacañang corrected this on Monday, June 5, to put the total to 179)
The unilateral declaration was arranged by panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that are implementing a peace agreement signed under the previous administration. (READ: Duterte creates 'peace corridors' with MILF for Marawi residents)
"It is a period coordinated with our forces, approved by the chief of staff, providing for a 4-hour window to allow entry of humanitarian workers from the local government units, non-government organizations, and civil society organizations," said military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.
"It's a humanitarian pause," he added. The ceasefire started at 8 am and ended at noon.
The MILF is the country's dominant Muslim rebel group. Central Mindanao, where Marawi City is located, is the MILF's known bailiwick.
Rappler spotted representatives of the government and MILF panels at the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol in Marawi City the night of May 31 to arrange logistics for the peace corridor.
Padilla said gunshots were reported during the ceasefire, however. – Rappler.com