AFP to allow return of more Marawi residents next week

Darryl Esguerra
PUBLISHED October 19, 2017 03:19 pm
A displaced family from Marawi City lives in the evacuation center since the siege erupted last May 23. Reuters file photo

(Inside Manila) The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it will allow next week the return of more residents to their homes in the war-torn Marawi City.


Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner said the process will be done with strict condition and under the military’s supervision to ensure terrorists will not be able to blend in with residents and stay within city's premises.


In a news briefing on Thursday, October 19, Brawner said, an identification (ID) system will also be enforced and the barangay officials will play the vital role of identifying their constituents.


"Sila ang magsasabi kung ang mga bumabalik ay mga tunay na residente sa barangay nila,” Brawner explained.


The AFP has divided Marawi City into clusters, with residents under Clusters 1 to 3 have already gone back to their houses.


Cluster 4 may return on October 26 or on Thursday next week, Brawner said.


In an interview over ANC's "Headstart" morning program today, AFP spokesperson Major Gen. Restituto Padilla explained that they cannot give the green light yet for the residents to head home because of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and booby traps that are still lurking around the city.

"As much as we would like to expedite their return to their homes, we cannot give yet the go signal (to allow them), because there's still danger lurking in every corner of that main battle area," Padilla said.


"The danger lies in the remaining IEDs and booby traps missed by our men doing the claearing operations... that is why the focus now is on the clearing of the main battle area," he added.


The remaining Maute terrorists are still fighting the state forces in the heart of the city and they are believed to hold around 20 hostages.


Periodic gunshots can still be heard reverberating within the Capitol’s area.


President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of the Islamic city after killing of Marawi siege leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

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