Some Ulama – religious leaders, literally “the learned ones” – in Marawi City have called on President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the military offensive in the Islamic City of Marawi so as to open up an opportunity for them to move toward a rapprochement with their relatives and friends in the terrorist Maute Group.
On ulama issued an emotional appeal for the cease fire because of their fear that they would have no more home to return to if the fighting rages on much more.
They asked that they be allowed to find a way to talk to the Maute Group, may of whom are their relatives anyway.
They seek a “win-win” solution that will result in minimal collateral damage because, as things stand, it is the civilian population, the non-combatants, 90 percent of who have fled to safety away from Marawi, that has bore the brunt of the damage and impact from this armed conflict.
This appeal comes in the wake of pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte himself that there is to be no negotiation with the terrorists.
So far, Malacañang has not come up with a response or rejoinder.
In a related development, the Iligan City local government unit confirmed to News5 that authorities have received reports of the sighting of armed men in Tagunuan Dos, Lanao del Sur, which is situated a scant 20 kilometers from the city.
According to the Jose Pantoja, the city information officer, the Mayor has been informed regarding “almost 300 armed man cited in Tagunuan … and, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military, the local government has moved to augment the security measures.”
“In case these armed groups reach Iligan, we will be ready to put up a fight,” Pantoja added. “We are tapping civil ain groups, particularly the members of gun and shooters clubs in Iligan, to help prevent the militants from spoiling the peace and order here in Iligan.”
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