‘We risk our lives to save others’ – MILF peace volunteer

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MARAWI CITY – Peace Corridor volunteers stationed here in the city went the extra mile to facilitate the retrieval of trapped civilians inside the conflict area, even risking their lives to save the others.

“This is our work, we risk our lives to save trapped civilians. Aside from risking our lives, we also make sure that ceasefire is working well,” Marjanie Mimbantas, a MILF member volunteering for Peace Corridors, shared.

With the ongoing crisis here in the city, MILF members found themselves performing a new role working side-by-side with the Philippine Government (GPH) by facilitating a safe and secure route for the retrieval of trapped civilians and humanitarian assistance to pass through.

The Peace Corridor is a joint initiative between the GPH and the MILF resulted from the meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Davao City on May 29.

Marjanie, who is also a member of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, said that the GPH-MILF Peace Corridors are one of retrieval efforts organized, alongside with initiatives from both the city and provincial governments.

“Our Peace Corridors are unique because we are going inside the war zone not only those which are cleared areas,” he explained.

MILF volunteers to the Peace Corridors are often assigned to enter the conflict zone to retrieve the trapped civilians within the area. Despite of the dangers they will encounter, Marjanie and other MILF volunteers are always prepared to go to help others.

“That’s the reason why we are camping here. Whenever someone asks for help, we are ready to go,” Marjanie pointed out.

Their movement, however, will still depend on the assessment of the ground commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. Marjanie emphasized that it is only when they get a clearance that the operation will commence.

Since June 4, Marjanie has been part of the Peace Corridor and he personally saw gratefulness of retrieved civilians and their relatives to the Peace Corridor. As of this writing, a total of 240 civilians were retrieved out of the war zone.

“If not because of this Peace Corridor, we will not able to go inside. This is one thing that we are very thankful to the Peace Corridors,” Marjanie said.

Marjanie, a Marawi resident himself, responded to the call of the situation when he heard of the creation of the Peace Corridors. He and his comrades in MILF knew that this can be their small contribution to help the affected Marawi residents. Although more than a hundred enlisted themselves, stricter policies were considered in the selection of volunteers to avert possible challenges.

“Our presence here manifests the sincerity of the both GPH and MILF to finally solve this problem,” Marjanie concluded. (OPAPP)

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