MANILA - Five Muslim cops had the chance to escape the war zone in Marawi earlier but chose to stay to protect 5 civilians trapped with them in the besieged Mindanao city.
Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, Public Safety Batallion commander of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police, said the police officers stayed because they knew the terrorists would kill the Christians.
"They had the chance to get out of the conflict zone earlier pero mas minabuti nilang protektahan ang mga sibilyan na kasama dahil 'yun ay mga Kristiyano," he told DZMM on Wednesday.
(They had the chance to get out of the conflict zone earlier but they chose to protect the civilians with them because they are Christians.)
The 5 brave Muslim cops of Marawi are PO3 Ricky S. Alawi, 46; PO1 Ibrahim P. Wahab, 32; PO1 Lumna Lidasan, 44; PO1 Esmael M. Adao, 34; PO1 Bernard A. Villaries, 52.
Inside the war zone, Tayaba said the 5 cops protected the civilians from being discovered by Maute terrorists because they can speak Maranao.
The police officers and the civilians were trapped for 22 days inside the conflict area of Marawi. They were only able to escape on Tuesday, treading dangerous streets and running towards safety.
PO1 Lidasan earlier said they had to stay strong so that the civilians would not be disheartened.
"Kapag nakitaan nila kami na napanghinaan ng loob, kawawa ang mga ito," he said.
(If they see us weak, I know it would put their spirits down.)
Tayaba said the policemen will undergo stress debriefing but for now they were allowed first to reunite with their families.
"These police officers braved the areas na talagang dangerous para lang makaluwas doon sa area kasama yung mga sibilyan na pinrotektahan nila," he said.
(These police officers braved the dangerous areas so they can escape with the civilians they were protecting.)