MANILA — Close to 200 civilians were rescued on Sunday with the four-hour humanitarian pause in Marawi City, the Palace said Monday.
During the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella reported that as of 6 p.m. last night, 179 civilians were rescued following the four-hour humanitarian pause in the fighting, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon yesterday.
Abella said troops continue to make headway into inner areas of the city but the operations are being slowed down by the use of civilians as human shields and as the terrorists use madrasahs and mosques as their staging areas.
The Palace official also reported that as of June 4, the government has so far released a total of PHP45,316,760 worth of augmentation assistance in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The support was given to affected families through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Region 10 and Field Office Region 12.
As of June 4, Abella said there have been 37,640 families or 185,878 persons displaced in Regions 10 and ARMM.
Of which, 3,768 families or 18,065 persons are still staying in 29 evacuation centers, and 33,872 families or 167,813 persons are staying outside the evacuation centers with their relatives and friends.
During the same briefing, Abella noted that President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to end the Marawi conflict within the shortest possible time but consistent, of course, with due regard for the protection of innocent lives and the avoidance of abuses.
He said that drug lords financing these attacks will be brought to justice and their networks will be closed down in Lanao and anywhere else in Mindanao or the rest of the country, he said.
“As we go about the long-term cleansing and rebuilding effort, we welcome the continuing support of the MNLF, the MILF, and other civil society groups now finding common cause with the government in fighting a terror threat to all Filipinos,” Abella added.
While the Palace cannot comment on specific numbers of foreign terrorists operating in the country, Abella said it is clear that violence in Marawi is being waged by local as well as foreign nationals.
He further noted that the southern part of Mindanao has served as a refuge for fugitives from Indonesia, Malaysia, and other locations.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the operations on the ground will continue relentlessly as what’s pointed out repeatedly in previous days.
“We are determined to end this problem as soon as possible and cause the return of Marawi back to its citizens within this period, especially Ramadan,” the Armed Forces of the Philippines official said.
Padilla said AFP Chief of Staff has directed ground commanders to do everything to avoid the bombing of mosques and other places of worship. PND/PNA-northboundasia.com