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Marawi still unsafe, says DND chief

By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Monday asked Marawi City residents not to return to their homes yet as it still dangerous and could result to possible casualties on their side.

As this developed, nine government soldiers were killed while 43 others were hurt following intense fighting against the Isis-inspired Maute terrorist group over the weekend.

Lorenzana made the remark as he and other Cabinet secretaries from government which include Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III were invited to Iligan City to conduct a dialogue/meeting with Marawi residents, Lanao LGUs, civil society organizations, the Marawi sultanate, and NGOs, on Sunday.

Also in the meeting were Sec. Guiling Mamondiong of TESDA, Sec. Abdullah Mama-o, Presidential Adviser on OFWs, and Sec. Abulkayr Alonto of the Mindanao Development Authority.

Lorenzana said the meeting was prompted by the plan of displaced Marawi residents to march to Marawi and return to their homes on Monday.

He said the dialogue was very cordial and productive. Marawi residents were also able to raise a lot of concerns that need to be addressed by the government agencies.

“They were encouraged to speak and ventilate their concerns in order to help all parties bridge the gaps in terms of cultural, religious, gender and social differences,” Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said they are asking for a little more understanding and patience as they deal with the remaining Maute/Daesh fighters who continue to put up stiff resistance.

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