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Sultans condemn Marawi siege, ask Duterte to stop use of airstrikes, artillery

Sultan Sampaco reads the Sultanate Manifesto as
Secretary Mamao looks on. (RSOY/TNRS)
Iligan City, Philippines
June 4, 2017

Prominent traditional leaders of Marawi City condemned the Marawi siege perpetrated by armed groups that killed hundreds, if not thousands of people including innocent women and children, damaged countless homes and properties and destroyed their livelihood even as they appealed to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to order the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) immediately cease from air strikes and artillery bombardment of the city.

In a press conference called for by the Marawi Sultanate League here Saturday, the Marawi royal leaders appealed to the government to immediately end the war in honor of the Holy Month Ramadan so that residents can go back to their homes.

They also asked to immediately rescue those who are trapped in the war, send immediately the sick and old-aged and children to hospitals or medical centers for treatment physically and psychologically, and to increase the relief goods and supplies to evacuees as reports said food and other relief supplies are lacking and thousands of IDPs not provided.

They also asked the government to include the sultanate league in the membership of any task force or commission that will be created to undertake tasks of clearing and rehabilitating the city.

A prepared statement of appeal to President Duterte signed by members of the league was read by Sultan Nasser D. Sampaco, chair of the sultanate league during the press conference which was attended by Atty. Abdullah "Dabs" Mamao, presidential adviser on overseas workers and special concerns.

Sampaco then handed over the statement to Secretary Mamao who promised that this document will reach the President on that day.

Mamao said he will send the document direct to the president through his direct lines by Viber. "I assure you," Mamao said, "that this manifesto will reach the president today."

Marawi City Administrator, Sultan Camid Gandamra who is senior adviser of the sultanate league, told the media that, "We want (the government) to clear Marawi City with the civilians, the leaders of Marawi City, and, of course, side by side with the military because we cannot also go around without the military."

Gandamra said, "What is important is there must be an understanding between the military and the civilian government (the local government) so that when we go back to our place and inspect our houses, we will also be protected by the military," adding that, "we do not like the military to be removed from these operations because their presence there is a symbol of authority, and, as I have said, we must look at it side by side with the military and the civil government."

Gandamra is the father of Marawi Mayor Majul.

On his part, Sultan AbdulMalik Monching Macabando expresses thanks and gratitude to the city government of Iligan for its warm hospitality in accommodating our evacuees from the conflict-torn Marawi City.

"In behalf of the Sultanate League," the Chairman Emeritus said, "I would like to express our gratitude to the local government of Iligan under the leadership of Mayor Regencia for readily accepting in their city the Maranao evacuees and for all the assistance they are extending to the evacuees."

The Marawi Sultanate League is an aggrupation of traditional royal leaders of the Islamic City of Marawi headed by Sultan Sampaco as chairman.

Other traditional leaders present during the press conference were Sultan sa Marinaut Abdul Malik "Monching" Macabando, Chairman Emeritus; Sultan Gandamra; Sultan a Adil a Gaus sa Marawi Linog Indol; Datu sa Guimba Lacs Ampuan; Cabugatan sa Toros Anwar Pangarungan; Radiamuda Mala ko Marawi Marantao AbdulAzis Cali.

Officials who were also present were Director Yusoph Lamping, Datu Mona Mamansao, Councilor Borgee Dalidig, Councilor Nassib Sampaco, and Councilor Mohammad Drieza.

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