A humanitarian mission with 400 relief packs for evacuees was denied entry to Marawi City today by the military, its leaders announced.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan spokesperson and former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño said an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) checkpoint at the entrance to the city proper stopped the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission at around 8:45 today.
“We were told to turn back because the relief goods were supposedly not needed by the evacuees anymore,” Casiño said.
The mission, principally organized by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, was scheduled to distribute more relief packs to civilian evacuees and meet with local government officials to know what other forms of assistance was needed in the war-torn city, he said.
Gabriela Women’s Party representative Arlene Brosas was among the mission participants.
Casiño said prior permission had been secured from Marawi local government officials and the military ground command through a Captain Clint Antipala of the Philippine Army.
He explained Marawi officials assured them beforehand relief packs are needed in the evacuation sites in the city.
“Local government officials later told us that under martial law, it was the military that had the final say on such matters,” Casiño said.
“Essentially, the military prevented humanitarian aid from reaching the displaced families in Marawi City. This is unacceptable,” Casiño said.
He added that they are still seeking an explanation on the AFP’s decision. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Photos courtesy of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission)
Relief packs of food and medicine ordered to turn back by the military at the entrance to Marawi City.