A Malacañang official has welcomed the result of the eight-hour humanitarian pause that was observed in conflict-stricken Marawi City last Sunday in celebration of Eid’l Fitr.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the temporary ceasefire between government troops and Maute militants was “generally peaceful” and resulted in successful recovery of civilians.
“The Humanitarian Pause was generally peaceful and as a result 6 civilians and one body of a civilian victim (killed by the Maute group) were recovered from inside Marawi,” Abella said in a statement issued via government-run Radyo ng Bayan on Monday, June 26.
He noted that among the six civilians rescued was a 79-year-old man.
As of 7 p.m. Sunday, Abella said government troops have rescued 1,702 civilians, killed 290 terrorists and recovered 347 firearms from the members of the Maute group.
At least 27 civilians and 70 soldiers have been killed by the terrorists, the Palace official added.
Abella said among the challenges of the military in dealing with the Maute terror group was the continuous use of snipers, improvised explosive devices, and rocket-propelled grenade from remaining vantage positions.
The use of combustible materials and other incendiary devices as well as use of humans as shields were also among the hindrances to the military clearing operations.
Abella said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Año reiterated military’s preparedness to embark on other key tasks such as rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi.
“It has prepared the Combat Engineering Brigades from the Army and the Navy for immediate deployment as soon as the clearing operations are completed,” Abella said.
“Task Force Ranao that has been activated is in full swing in ensuring that efforts to save lives of innocent non-combatant civilians remain a primary specific task to be complied with,” he added.
The task force has also been directed to collate and distribute relief goods to evacuees in cooperation with the local government units (LGUs).
“The AFP remains committed to the decisive resolution of the rebellion in Marawi to ensure that the Maute-Daesh/ISIS terrorist rebels will not be able to pose a threat in any part of the Philippines,” he said.
Abella added that the support and active participation of LGUs and the citizens will play a key role in ens
uring that terrorism will not thrive and prosper in the country.
DOTr’s Manila-Clark Railway Project
Meanwhile, Abella also welcomed the continuing infrastructure development in the country through the Build-Build-Build program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
He particularly mentioned the marking of first five stations of the Manila-Clark Railway Project, a rail project that will connect Manila to Central Luzon.
The five stations will be located in Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan, Valenzuela, Caloocan, and Tutuban in Metro Manila.
“Today, while the country is on a holiday, the government – through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) – is still work-work-work in its Build-Build-Build infrastructure program,” said Abella.
The 106-km railway project will run from Tutuban, Manila to Clark, Pampanga with construction starting in the last quarter of this year, Abella said.
Consist of 17 stations, the Manila-Clark Railway Project is expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2021.
Once finished, it will cut the two-hour travel time from Manila to Clark to just 55 minutes benefitting 350,000 passengers daily on its first year of operations.###PND