MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called on government and military officials implementing martial law in Mindanao to listen to the residents of Marawi City.
According to Robredo, she has been hearing allegations of human rights violations under martial law when she visited the displaced residents staying in evacuation centers in Balo-i town and Iligan City.
"Merong mga alegasyon na merong paglabag ng mga karapatang pantao. Tingin ko kailangang tingnan din ito para hindi na lumala pa," she said Sunday, following the Congress' approval of the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
"Kahit noong meeting namin, ito, sinabi ko na ito kay [Defense] Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana, sinabi ko sa mga taong kailangang makaaalam. Pinaabot ko sa kanya 'yung pinaabot din sa akin," she added.
While Lorenzana assured human rights violations will not be tolerated, Robredo said the officials should exert all efforts to make the residents feel safe amid the ongoing conflict.
"'Yung karanasan natin nung mga nakaraang panahon, nung panahon ng diktadurya, nung nagkaroon ng martial law, nagkaroon ng maraming karahasan. Ayaw nating maulit 'yun," she said.
Consulting Marawi residents, the vice president said, is not just important in implementing martial law and addressing their immediate needs but also in the rehabilitation of the war-torn city.
"Sabi ko, lalong lalo na sa rehabilitation phase, lalong lalo na sa pag-asikaso ng pangmatagalang solusyon. Hindi puwedeng kami-kami lang, o tayo-tayo lang, ang nag-uusap. Sana pakinggan talaga sila," she said.
Meanwhile, Robredo lauded Samira Gutoc-Tomawis of the Ranao Rescue Team, who spoke during special joint session of Congress on extending martial law.
The vice president said the concerns raised by Tomawis reflected the sentiments of the evacuees she met during her visits to Lanao. She said officials should take note that the statement by the Maranao woman was an important message to the government.
"Pero iyong isang mahalagang bagay doon, pinayagang magsalita iyong isang representative ng Marawi. Isang babae. Nandoon siya sa Ranao Rescuers," she said.
"Mahalaga iyong mensahe niya. At ito din iyong mensahe na... Noong pang-ilang baba ko na sa Mindanao, ito din iyong pinaaabot sa akin," she added.