THE Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) said Peace Corridor has been instrumental in providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to residents affected by the ongoing fighting in Marawi City.

“Since the opening of the Peace Corridor, the flow of humanitarian assistance has been continuous in the affected areas,” Wendell Orbeso, head of the Opapp operations office in Cotabato City, said.

The Peace Corridor, which was established in June 4, is a safe and secure zone for civilians fleeing the conflict, as well as a reliable space where humanitarian assistance can pass through.

To date, the Peace Corridor facilitated the rescue of 270 civilians, who were trapped in the ongoing firefight between government forces and members of the Maute group.

The fighting started on May 23 when the Maute group members went berserk and occupied several establishments when the troops raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is being protected by the group.

The Peace Corridor was created through a collaborative effort of the Implementing Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Under the Peace Corridor, two Joint Coordinating and Monitoring Action Centers (JCMACs) were established. One is located in Marawi, while the other is in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.

Orbeso said the Malabang Peace Corridor has made possible the unhampered entry of relief goods in the conflict zone, something that was not possible before the initiative started.

Orbeso said the Provincial Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), through its Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (Heart), wanted to make sure that the assistance it brought along reached all intended beneficiaries.

He explained that through the JCMACs, coordination between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF was further strengthened, enabling the Armm-Heart teams to successfully carry out relief efforts in the affected communities.

Based on the latest report of JCMAC, 17,507 foods packs, 5,587 pieces of Malong and 1,343 hygienic kits have been distributed by the Armm-Heart in Marawi City and 20 other surrounding municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

The relief efforts were carried out by the Armm-Herat in partnership with the International Committee on the Red Cross, Community, Family Services International, Bangsamoro Development Authority and other donor agencies. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)