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Marawi conflict keeps Iligan coffin-makers busy

The rising death toll in Marawi City resulting from the ongoing armed conflict there has been keeping coffin-makers in nearby Iligan City busy, GMA News' Rida Reyes reported on 24 Oras on Friday.

A coffin-maker said they've been working "double time" even on weekends just to meet the demand as civilian corpses pile up in the month-long clashes between government forces and the Maute terrorist group.

On average, the coffin-maker said they manufacture four coffins a day. So far, 17 coffins have been used to store the remains of victims of the Marawi conflict. Six of them were buried Thursday at the San Roque Public Cemetery.

The report said almost every day, bodies of civilians are brought to Iligan City from Marawi City for burial.

"Kahit ano ka pa, kahit anong tribo ka, kahit masama ka, kailangan ilibing ka ng maayos," said Arlene Onotan, secretary of Iligan City Community Affairs Office.

The report said the local government of Iligan is considering using a one-hectare lot inside the public cemetery as mass grave for the unclaimed bodies from Marawi City.

Of the unclaimed dead, it was learned that four of them were members of the ISIS-inspired Maute group who were killed in an ambush in Pantar, Lanao del Norte, on June 10, the report said.

It also said the Iligan City government is expecting more bodies to arrive in the coming days as the conflict in Marawi City continues.

The local government is already coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for budgetary assistance.

"Naubos na yung budget, wala na tayong magagawa, hahanap tayo na paraan," said Antonio Flores, community officer of Iligan City Mayor's Office. —KBK, GMA News