28 unidentified bodies retrieved from Marawi battle zone laid to rest
MARAWI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The stench of death lingered in the air as local officials on Tuesday, September 5, buried the remains of 28 unidentified bodies retrieved from the city's battle zone.
The smell came from the bodies of alleged terrorists killed last week, buried at Maqbarah cemetery alongside civilians whose remains are already in advanced stages of decomposition.
"We make sure that these victims are given decent burial rites and appropriate individual space in accordance with religious and cultural sensitivities. We have the fatwa issued by the religious sector to guide us and to facilitate the proper handling of these cadavers," said Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee.
While volunteers carefully placed the body bags into prepared graves, choppers hovered on top of the Muslim cemetery and bursts of gunshots could be heard from the battle zone nearby.
A backhoe moved the soil to fill the graves before the number cards are planted to serve as identifiers.
It's the second batch of remains buried at the Muslim cemetery in barangay Papandayan following the first mass burial for bodies retrieved from the battle zone back in July. Other remains were buried in Iligan City.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has been leading mass burial for bodies retrieved in the battle zone.
The cadavers were processed by the police Scene of Crime Operative (SOCO) and were brought to the Capin Funeral in Iligan City where they were collected.
Residents looking for missing family members are encouraged to submit their DNA samples to see if they will match the specimen retrieved from the cadavers.
"We appeal to the public especially those who have relatives & kins that are still missing to approach the Provincial Crisis Management Committee or the Missing Person Center in Iligan City and submit swab samples for the antemortem procedure," said Adiong.