Police stops convoy; delays visit of peace groups, ‘bakwits’ to Marawi public cemetery

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY. (MindaNews / 23 May) — Police stopped a  convoy of peace advocates and ‘bakwits’ or internally displaced Marawi residents, from proceding to the Maqbara Public Cemetery in Barangay Papandayan, Marawi City on Sunday, the fourth anniversary of Day 1 of the Marawi Siege.

Drieza Lininding, chair of the Moro Consensus Group said a group of policemen from Marawi stopped the convoy of representatives of civil society organizations, including members of the Davao City-based Initiatives for International Dialogue, and family members of internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the New Capitol Complex Road.

Police stops a convoy of peace groups and ‘bakwits’ or displaced Marawi residents from proceeding to Mabara public cemetery in Marawi City for a memorial rite on the 4th anniversary of Day 1 of the Marawi Siege on Sunday, 23 May 2021. The convoy was later allowed to proceed. Photo by HADJI BALAJADIA

He said the convoy was on its way to the cemetery to attend a memorial rite for the 470 persons whose remains were retrieved from ‘Ground Zero’ —  the main battle area between government forces and the Maute Group and its allies – and buried there in 2017.

In a Facebook live feed posted by Liningding, an unidentified police officer was telling the members of the convoy that the reason they held them was that the vans were overloaded.

“Mayroon rin report that may threat sa IED (Improvised Explosive Device),” the officer said.

Lininding said they questioned the police for holding the convoy since they have obtained a verbal permission from Task Force Bangon Marawi Chair and Human Settlements Secretary Eduardo del Rosario.

“I cannot understand why they are holding us. We are not holding a rally and we certainly are not a threat to their activities,” Lininding said.

After two hours of negotiations, the police eventually allowed the convoy to proceed to Maqbara cemetery.

Task Force Bangon Marawi and the Presidential Communications Operations Office organized a media blitz for the 4th anniversary of the Marawi siege on Saturday and Sunday

They flew in Manila-based journalists to witness the groundbreaking of mosques, a sports complex in the Most Affected Area in Marawi City.   (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)