ILIGAN CITY – A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel arrived here Saturday morning, loaded with relief goods for evacuees from Marawi City.
BRP Batangas, which left Manila for the Port of Iligan on Thursday, carried about 10,000 relief packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Each pack contains five kilograms of rice, eight cans of food, and one pack of coffee.
The packs also contain non-food items such as hygiene kits and sleeping mats.
Upon unloading the relief packs, BRP Batangas will serve as a floating hospital for residents. PCG officers on board will also help ensure maritime security in the area.
Another vessel, the BRP Malabrigo, went ahead to Mindanao on Wednesday, carrying PCG officers tasked to help with operational security.
Residents fleeing Marawi have been streaming into this city this week, as sporadic clashes continued between government troops and the terrorist Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
The clashes erupted Tuesday as government troops attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, said to be the anointed leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. Hapilon has a $5-million bounty on his head.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday in a bid to quell the terrorists, who he said planned to establish an Islamic State province in Mindanao.