Well, here we are actually a little more than a week since Martial Law was implemented in Mindanao. I have been getting a lot more information from sources on the ground in Marawi City, and I will share that information later in this article.
For those of us on other parts of the Island of Mindanao, away from Marawi and nearby places, though, life remains the same as it was before Martial Law.
Here in Davao, as I reported last week, life has remained unchanged. That is still the same. Day to day life has not been effected in the least bit. There is not any additional police presence. No checkpoints around town, etc. There are checkpoints at the entry points of the city, but those have been in effect for years, and they are there to screen who is entering the city. I am sure that some people find ways around those checkpoints, but I do feel that the checkpoints are fairly effective for keeping the unwanted out of the city.
What is the death toll in Marawi?
In the media there is not too much talk about how many people have been killed in Marawi. The actual number is not clear. The news that I have seen on TV indicates numbers around 100 people. But, I have heard reports from people that I know in Marawi telling me that the death toll is much higher. Several people have told me that around 250 civilians have been killed. Also, some AFP (Armed Forces Philippine) personnel and ISIS/Maute (Maute is a local terrorist group, which has allegiance to ISIS) terrorists are obviously dead as well. I am told that the death toll is currently more than 300 in all.
Of course, I cannot verify these numbers, but the people who have told me this have always been reliable, and I do not doubt that the numbers could be fairly close to the truth.
One of the most astounding things that has come out is that there are foreign terrorists who have been killed. Reports are that terrorists from Indonesia, Malaysia and even from the Middle East were on the ground in Marawi during the terrorist action. This is particularly alarming, and the President is using this information to justify the declaration of Martial Law. It is said that if foreign terrorists were involved that shows that this was a legitimate invasion of a part of the Philippines, which, under the law, would justify the declaration of Martial Law.
It is said, and has been reported in the news media, that there were foreigners who died among terrorists who were killed and their bodies were recovered.
Some people have kind of downplayed that this is an ISIS attack in the Philippines, saying that it was done by Maute, a local group. However, news reports indicate that the Marawi attack was claimed by ISIS on their website, so that would be a good indicator of actual ISIS involvement in the plot.
It has been reported, and claimed by President Duterte, that Maute started out as a group of drug manufacturers and distributors. The Maute group was started by two brothers, who are former policemen, and they were involved in the drug trade. It is said that other “drug lords” became involved in the Maute group, and it grew from there. It is said that multiple politicians also joined up with Maute to wreak havoc in the country. If this is true, it would certainly go a long way to explaining President Duterte’s deep resentment and big war against the drug dealers that he has waged since his inauguration nearly a year ago.
My Facebook Friend
I have a friend on Facebook that I follow fairly closely. He lives in the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao)… he actually lives right in Marawi City. He features a lot of first hand reports and reports that he gets from “people in power” and “people in the know” on Facebook and I have found him to be a good source of information that otherwise may go unknown. His name is Norodin Alonto Lucman. Nor has been very active on Facebook, but today he has gone silent, so I hope that he is doing OK.
Here are some news articles that Nor has shared in the past few days that give some interesting information.
There are other people in Marawi that I have been in contact with, but they asked me not to name them. Nor’s FB page is public, so I don’t think there is any problem in sharing the link.
Feyma is from Sarangani Province (just outside of General Santos City), and I saw some rather disturbing news today. The Manila Times is reporting that Wounded Maute Men Seek Treatment in Sarangani. Apparently, some of the terrorists who escaped Marawi made it to Sarangani Province, held doctors and other medical staff hostage, at gunpoint, and demanded that they treat wounded comrades.
This is very concerning to me for a couple of reasons.
- Sarangani is very far from Marawi City, and Sarangani is actually just a couple hours away from Davao City.
- We sometimes go to Sarangani to visit family and such. Some of our kids even regularly spend time at the family farm in Sarangani Province. You can bet they won’t be headed down there at this time.
The situation is ongoing
All reports that I see say that there is still fighting in the streets, fires burning and such in Marawi City. Of course, I believe it is less than it was a week ago, but still sporadic fighting seems to be the “new normal” in Marawi City.
Is Martial Law justified?
Right now, based on the things I am seeing, it would seem that martial law is justified. I have not heard reports of Police, Military, or other government people abusing the power and doing unjustified things based on the fact that martial law is in place, and hopefully that will not happen.
With this kind of thing going on, right on the island where I live, I hope that it will be quashed and bring some Peace to Mindanao once and for all.
I have been to Marawi multiple times over the years, and always enjoyed going there. I hope that this whole situation can be resolved quickly!