#PrayForMarawi: Here's What We Know So Far About the Ongoing Crisis in Marawi City
- 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.
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First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”