- President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Moscow, Russia with some members of his cabinet for the bilateral talks, apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin because he had to cut his visit short due to the ongoing crisis in Marawi City. He's scheduled to arrive in the Philippines today at 5PM. (via Inquirer.net)
Read about the Martial Law declaration here:
- ICYMI, the AFP also released their official statement through Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard A. Arevalo in a video. His major points are summarized in the video's details below:
The most important part is the AFP's call for us to refrain from posting and re-posting photos and videos that may put our troops and their operations in danger. They also assured us that they will be giving us updates from time to time. He said, "We fervently urge our people to refrain from posting in social media information that would tend exacerbate the situation. Especially of photos and videos on the movements of our troops and on terrorist propaganda circulating through social media. We will continue to provide updates as often as possible with due regard to the security of our operating forces and the conduct of the operations itself."
"We fervently urge our people to refrain from posting in social media information that would tend exacerbate the situation. Especially of photos and videos on the movements of our troops and on terrorist propaganda circulating through social media." —Chief Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo
- Martial Law was declared in Mindanao last night. Here's a short infographic on the difference of the late president Ferdinand Marcos' Martial Law from the one that was declared at around 11PM yesterday.
- The encounter started at around 2PM yesterday when government forces searched for "high value targets" that allegedly belonged to the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups (groups that have "pledged allegiance" to the international terrorist group ISIS) in Brgy. Basak Malutlut after receiving reports from residents in the area. (via Rappler.com)
- Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra went on air on CNN at around 8PM and said that they were still waiting for reinforcements from the government. At 9:21PM, Spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla released an official statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines asking citizens to calm down and also encouraging them to continue giving specific details about the location of the rebel forces as much as they can to help government troops.
- Personal accounts on social media (posted 4PM onwards yesterday) further showed the presence of rebel forces in the city. We included more accounts below:
- Various establishments have been burned down by members of the rebel forces. This includes schools, hospitals, and religious establishments. Entrance/exit areas in the city have also been blocked to stop residents and government forces from going in and out of the city.
- No firefighters and firetrucks responded to rebels allegedly firing down parts of the city.
At this difficult time for our country, we encourage everyone to pray and to set aside our political views ATM which we believe is what these groups want. Our prayers go out to the citizens of Marawi City and to our Filipino troops who are putting their lives at risk so that we can restore peace and order in the country.
UPDATED MAY 23, 9:24PM: Spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla released an official statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, asking citizens to calm down because the operations are still ongoing and that they can't give specific details yet. They also encouraged citizens to give information on the location of the rebel forces if they can.
UPDATED MAY 23, 8:33PM: In an interview with CNN on television, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said on air that there's no presence of the military and the Philippine National Police near his area in Marawi City, but that he's asked help from other officials already. He said also that they're armed, but that they needed support from the government, saying, "We can't do it alone!"
The mayor, as of posting, is at the City Hall with his men to guard and defend the building, which is very near the Amai Pakpak Medical Center that's under the control of the Maute group. Another resident from Marawi, Zed Abantas, confirmed the information that there are indeed no reinforcements from the AFP and PNP in the city, and that they're still waiting.
On the other hand, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Eduardo Año, who's in Moscow ATM with President Rodrigo Duterte, said on air that the government forces are in full control and that all civilians are advised to stay indoors. He also cleared what really began this incident, at around 2PM today, which was their search of Abu Sayyaf group leader Isnilon Hapilon who was allegedly with a group in the area.
UPDATED May 23, 7:22PM: Marawi resident Chico Usman told us about what's going on right now near the Marawi City Jail, "May sunog na malapit sa City Jail. Malakas na kasi palitan ng putok kaya nagkasunog. Madaming sumabog kanina."
When we asked what he wanted us to tell the government, he answered, "Sana dumating na [ang] militar at sana po 'wag nilang bombahan [ang] mga bahay dito, kasi [maraming] civilians na trapped. Ang sunog po ay nasa Marawi City Jail, pero 'di ko po 100% sure."
This photo was taken from the rooftop of where Chico is staying ATM:
To our fellow Filipinos from Marawi, we're keeping you in our prayers and we do hope you're safe.
Just a few hours ago, we were shocked when this post landed on our Feeds.
It's about the ISIS flag seen in Marawi City, the capital city of Lanao del Sur. And while we're still waiting for more details on what's going on, here's a list of what we know so far about this heartbreaking event.
- The Maute group invaded the area and attacked the Amai Pakpak Medical Center.
The Maute group is, according to The Philippine Star, "also known as the Dawlah Islamiya Philippines, which espouses hatred to non-Muslims. It also boasts of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and uses the black ISIS flag as its revolutionary banner." This explains why one Facebook user spotted an ISIS flag just outside her house.
- A crossfire is still ongoing as of posting.
In a report by GMA News, one soldier identified as Capt. Solar was hurt in the firefight which started at 3PM, after the group took over the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in the province. In a separate account told to the news organization, Ret. Col. Tatar Boriongan, Lanao Del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (PDRMMO), said that his team couldn't also mobilize because there are checkpoints controlled by the group in the area.
- We asked two people from Marawi City via Facebook messenger, and we're fortunate enough that they were willing to share their personal accounts of what happened earlier. Their stories, written below, coincide with the reports.
Chico Usman, Brgy. Naga: "At 4PM, the ISIS made barricade at [the] intersection near us and very near also to the Marawi City Jail. Between 3 to 4PM, nag-start ['yung putukan]. Wala nang labasan sa bahay ngayon. Malalakas pa rin ang putukan."
When we asked whether there are soldiers in the area already, Chico told us, "Wala pa po akong nakitang militar. Mga ISIS lang, pinapaputukan ang Marawi City Jail at rumiresbak ang mga pulis sa loob ng jail. Hanggang ngayon, may putukan pa rin."
From a person living in Lilod, Marawi who wanted us to keep her anonymous: "[The people carrying the ISIS flag] remained for more than three hours in front of my house without noises. They are harmless towards civilians. Pag walang dumating na army, wala ring puputok kaya sana wala nang dumating na mga army."
When we told him that another source from Brgy. Naga told us that gunshots can be heard in their area, she replied, "Sa kanila lang po 'yun. Sa amin ay tahimik pa rin hanggang ngayon. Blocking force ata itong mga ISIS sa amin kasi 40 meters lang ang layo nila sa Mapandi Bridge. Huwag na po i-mention ang name ko. 'Yung bridge po ang binabantayan nila para walang makadaan na mga AFP kasi about 40 meters po ang layo nila sa bridge."
We also told our source to let us know if she wants us to publish anything from them regarding what's going on, and this is what she said: "The people of Marawi [are] asking the AFP to let the Marawi City leaders negotiate with the ISIS groups, instead of fighting."
Candymag.com is open to publishing personal accounts from our Candy readers residing in or near the Mindanao State University-Marawi City, which is near where the encounters happened. You may send us a message via Facebook or e-mail them to us at candymagazineATgmailDOTcom.