A HUMANITARIAN mission organized by leftist groups was barred from entering Marawi City on Thursday, June 15.
A representative of one of the groups that make up the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM) said the mission was set to distribute 400 relief packs when a certain Captain Clint Antipala refused to let them through the checkpoint.
The humanitarian mission was initiated by Kalinaw Mindanao.
"Sabi nila, hindi na nila kailangan ang relief operations, pero bakit ganun na prior sa day that we headed to Marawi, I did many follow-ups, sabi ni Captain Antipala, no need for documents na, they just need names of the delegates and plate number of the vehicles we're going to use, but when we arrived at the checkpoint, sinabihan lang kami na hindi pwede, kasi martial law and they do not need our help anymore," said Amirah Lidasan, representative of Moro-People's Alliance.
Lidasan said the delegation, headed by Teddy Casino, representative Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna, and representative Arlene Brosas of Gabriela tried to negotiate with the military.
Lidasan said the group was singled out, because as they were waiting for negotiations to finish, several trucks bringing relief goods were allowed to pass through the checkpoint.
"Maybe the military wants to cover up the real situation of the evacuees and the ongoing war in Marawi. We wanted to go because many are saying that the government forces are looting in our homes," she said.
Jerome Succor Aba of Suara Bangsamoro and Kalinaw Mindanao, said what the military did was a clear case of military supremacy over civilian authority.
The humanitarian mission, composed of 30 delegates, instead delivered the relief goods to the evacuees in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 17, 2017.