Military allays public's fears over air strikes

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2017 03:54 PM | Updated as of May 29 2017 11:51 AM

A Philippine Air Force UH-1 helicopter hovers above a field as smoke billows from buildings in Marawi City's central district following aerial attacks from government forces. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MARAWI CITY - Bombs dropped from attack helicopters here are aimed at positions of Maute extremists, the military said Sunday, as it allayed the public's fears the bombardments would result in collateral damage.

The "surgical air strikes" continued as the death toll mounted on the sixth day of fighting that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

"We are assuring to the public that we are using precision and proportionate force to pin down the enemy," said regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera.

"As of now, we have no reported collateral damage or rather victims during the [operations], wala tayong reports na ganun," he said.

Aliasgar Ibrahim, 42, said he was worried his pregnant wife and 6 children, who are still trapped in the city center.

"Pinipilit ko pong makapunta diyan pero mahirap talagang puntahan. Hindi ko alam kung makakadaan kami o hindi," he said frustrated, shedding tears as he longs to see his kids again.

(I was really trying to go there, but it was hard. I did not know where we can pass safely.)

Aliasgar Ibrahim tries to hold back tears as he shares the pain of having a family still trapped in the war-torn city of Marawi. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Herrera said security forces have "contained" Marawi to restrict the movement of the rebels.

A 62-year-old man in an evacuation center, who escaped from the city proper, showed to ABS-CBN his wounded leg from a bomb splinter. 

The man, who requested not to be named, said he jumped to safety when a bomb exploded about 10 steps away from him but he was hit with splinters after a second bomb exploded.

A senior citizen in an evacuation center shows ABS-CBN News the wounds he got from bomb splinters. Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News