64 Tagakolu tribe members trapped in Marawi await return to Malita, Davao Occidental

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 01 June) —  Sixty-four members of the Tagakolu tribe from Malita,  Davao Occidental who were trapped in Marawi City due to the ongoing clashes between government and the Maute Group will be transported to Iligan where arrangements are being made for them to be returned to Malita.

The 64 Tagakolu members, most of them construction workers and their families  are staying in the compound of the Philippine National Police provincial headquarters in Lancaf, Marawi City.

P02 Nurjaul Benito went to the Operations Center of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee on Wednesday seeking assistance for the Tagakolu who want to go home to Malita.

Benito sounded desperate for assistance, explaining the Tagakolu have no more food to eat and that he has also run out of food supply to share with them.

“Maawa talaga ako sa mga bata,” (I pity the children), Benito said.

Members of the Tagakolu tribe from Malita, Davao Occidental who were trapped in Marawi City due to the clashes between government forces and terrorist groups receive relief goods from the Provincial Social Welfare Office Wednesday night in Lancaf, Marawi City. Arrangements are being done for transport of the 64 Tagakolu construction workers and their families to Iligan where the Office of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista will have them fetched. Photo courtesy of  Lanao del Sur Provincial Social Welfare Office

Ross Sinarimbo, a volunteer at the PCMC, told MindaNews they brought relief goods to the Tagakolu Wednesday night and arrangements are being made for their transport to Iligan City.

Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista has been informed of the situation and the request of the PCMC for transport of the Tagakolu from Iligan to Malita.

Bautista’s secretary, Marivic, said they are just awaiting advice from the PCMC once the Tagakolu are brought to Iligan “then doon na namin i-pick up” (then we will pick them up there).

Benito told MindaNews the Tagakolu want to return home to Malita “kasi takot na takot na sila dito” (because they’re so afraid here). He said the Tagakolu are not employed by a construction firm but are working in several constructions in the city. He said some of the Tagakolu have been staying in Marawi in the last 10 years.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)