The CMOCC was our most innovative and effective CMO onsite initiative. It served as the medium where civilian stakeholders (civil society groups, media, private individuals and government organizations) were able to engage us on three fronts – information dissemination, continuous dialogue, and in the conduct of emergency activities. The CMOCC effort was headed by Lt Col Herrera with the assistance of Maj Reynaldo Sambo, Maj Abdulah Mocsana, Cpt Mike Malacad, Cpt Clint Antipala, and Cpt Janaloden Sanggacala.
During the crisis, the CMOCC was responsible for the rescue of trapped civilians in the war zone, retrieval of the dead, treatment of wounded civilians, organization of relief operations for IDPs, issuance of security clearances for local residents, and accepting donations for the troops and IDPs. The 6th Infantry Division (6ID) under the leadership of MGEN ARNEL DELA VEGA, provided us with the 6th CMO battalion headed by LT COL GERRY BESANA, to support the CMOCC of JTF Marawi. With the establishment of JTG Ranao and JTG Tabang, some of these tasks particularly those dealing with security clearances and the management of IDPs were passed on to them. They also provided human resource and security for the conduct of our rescue and retrieval operations during the crisis.
With the intent of showing our support for the people and the local government of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, the Stakeholder’s Desk was introduced to provide them with a means of communicating with us. We held frequent consultations with key leaders and influencers especially on matters concerning the welfare of IDPs and early rehabilitation efforts.
Our immediate counterpart on the provincial level was the Provincial Crisis Management Council (PCMC), with the assistance of Jenny Alonto, the Public Information officer of Lanao del Sur, and Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, which was created days after the crisis started. The PCMC became one of our key partners in addressing the human dimension of the conflict.
Recovering casualties from the crisis, especially cadavers of civilians and affording them the proper burial were among our concerns. In executing this task, we collaborated with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of Lanao del Sur, and the PNP Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO) from the Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO). A total of 232 bodies were recovered, processed for identification, and eventually buried as a result of this endeavor.
We handled relief operations in partnership with the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur, ARMM-HEART, DSWD, and the Provincial Social Welfare Development (PSWD) led by Maharlanny Alonto, for the delivery and distribution of relief goods to IDPs in the different evacuation centers. We provided the human resources, equipment, and security during our humanitarian assistance activities. This endeavor created a big impact on the communities affected by the conflict.
(This entry is part of Chapter 2: Marawi Crisis.)