Bombings in Marawi causing fear among Pantar folk

PANTAR, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews / 12 July) – Some residents of this town have developed fears of the daily aerial bombardment in nearby Marawi City where government forces are battling the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group, an evacuee said.

“We can hear the bombs from here. The explosions are so loud especially at night, that’s why the people are afraid,” Imal Abduljalil, whose family has sought refuge in a relative’s house, said Tuesday.

Evacuees from Marawi City arrive in Pantar, Lanao del Norte. MindaNews file photo by Froilan Gallardo

“They’re afraid the bombs might land here, too,” Abduljalil, speaking in Cebuano, said.

“You see that hill? That’s the brigade camp near the capitol in Marawi,” he said, pointing to what has become known as the Signal Hill inside the Army headquarters that can be seen from Pantar’s elementary school.

This municipality is 12 kilometers from Marawi via Saguiaran in Lanao del Sur.

Most evacuees here are living with relatives, although the government has started works on a tent city across the elementary school.

There were no personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development at the tent city when MindaNews went there on Tuesday.

Workers from the Department of Public Works and Highways who were leveling the ground refused to answer questions about the project.

“Our job here, Sir, is just to prepare the site. We don’t know about the other details,” one of them said.

The tent city measures less than 2,000 square meters. Around 30 canvas tents had been put up on Tuesday, each measuring 12 feet by 13 feet.

“I’ve heard that 100 tents will be put up there. That’s not enough for the evacuees who are now in Pantar,” Abduljalil said.

Tents had been put up too in Barangay Landa Pamana Gadungan in neighboring Balo-i town where thousands of Marawi residents fled after the fighting erupted.

One tent housed two couples and their children.

20 pesos per ride

Abduljalil said he spends 40 pesos a day for escorting his two children to and from school.

“The tricycles charge 20 pesos per ride regardless of the number of passengers,” he said.

“We would walk in the morning on the way to school and in going home in the afternoon because the sun is not hot. But at noontime we have to take a ride from school and back because it’s too hot for the children,” he added.

Asked if he had found a source of income in Pantar, he said, “For now, no, I’m forced to rely on relief assistance and on my relatives.” (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)