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Military eyes opening 9 Marawi barangays to residents

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Government security forces have considered opening some nine Marawi City barangays to residents who had been displaced by the fighting.

In a press briefing in Marawi City, Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao said that they hopped to open the nine barangays by October 25 or 26.

“Yesterday, we also had a meeting with Task Force Bangon Marawi and we are going to continue the efforts towards rehabilitation,” Brawner added.

“Next week, if the barangay officials would be able to accomplish the requirements that we gave them, then we might be able to allow the residents of Marawi City to come back to their houses by the 25th or ther 26th.”

Brawner also revealed that the barangays near the Mindanao State University had already been opened.

“So in fact, may mga nag-open na ng mga barangays, yung mga nasa clusters one, two, three. Ito yung mga nasa area ng Sagonsongan at yung mga barangays doon sa area... going to Ramain,” he explained.

“The other barangays are Matampay, Tampilong, Basat Malutlut, Marinaut, Moriatao Loksadato, Marawi Poblacion, Datu Saber, Barangay Green (Buadi Sacayo), [at] Panggao Saduc.”

Utilities, identities

Brawner however made it clear that electricity and water services needed to be available before any residents were allowed to go home.

“Dapat magbukas na po yung mga ibang services natin like health services, so yung mga clinics, hospitals,” he added. “Schools will have to be ready to open also. Markets, stores ay dapat open na rin bago bumalik yung mga residente.”

The identity of residents also needed to be verified before they were allowed to return home.

“One critical thing that we are looking at in terms of security is that we have to ensure that the resident who will come back are indeed residents of that barangay. Kaya kasama po natin dito ang Philippine National Police, especially the barangay local government unit so yung mga barangay captain, yung mga barangay officials, malaki yung role nagagampanan nila,” Brawner said.

“So we will make sure that the non-residents will not be able to join them and maybe, you know, create havoc or create a scenario here in Marawi City.”

The Western Mindanao Command's Lieutenant General Ernesto Galvez Jr. said earlier that government forces would try to end the Marawi fighting by Sunday, October 22.

As of October 22, 2017, some 919 Maute gunmen had been killed, with 864 firearms recovered from them.

Government troops had also rescued 1,780 hostages, while military and police fatalities numbered 165.

President Rodrigo Duterte,  on October 17 and after the deaths of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, declared Marawi City liberated from terrorists. — DVM, GMA News

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