Training starts for grim task of recovering bodies in Marawi

MARAWI CITY - Police have started training civilian volunteers who will join the retrieval team to sweep the war zone and recover bodies once the fighting between soldiers and Islamic militants is over.

Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson for the provincial crisis management committee, told reporters on Saturday that the Philippine National Police had responded to their appeal to set up its mobile crime laboratory in this city.

"Iligan City would no longer accept cadavers. We have a problem with that so the police would bring their people here to set up a mobile lab to make the retrieval and examination of bodies easier," he said.

"Our search and rescue teams have been coordinating with them. They are conducting training with our volunteers on how to properly handle the cadavers," he said.


Adiong said the committee was waiting for the fatwa (edict) from the religious sector on how to deal with the dead in the Islamic faith, which was a concern raised to them by the Scene of the Crime Operatives.

"We have to be ready. We should be one step ahead of what will happen," he said.

"When the time comes that it is safe for our experts and civilian volunteers to enter the area of combat operations, they know what to do," Adiong added.

Adiong also reported that the police had already set up a missing persons desk in all evacuation centres in Iligan and in Lanao del Sur.

"Those searching for their missing loved ones have to give samples for DNA test," he said, in order to claim their remains and give them proper burial.