WATCH | In Marawi, hospital staff tell of encounters with women and child warriors

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Amai Pakpak hospital staff
Amai Pakpak hospital staff tell of encounters with women and child warriors in Marawi.

ISLAMIC CITY OF MARAWI – At Amai Pakpak Medical Center here, which is expeditiously being rehabilitated to meet urgent medical and health needs even as the violent standoff continues after more than 60 days, hospital staff share accounts of the time some of the wounded among the terrorist Maute Group were brought for emergency treatment – accounts that included tales of women and child combatants fighting on the side of the enemies of the government.

The health professionals showed where they barged in, bringing with them their wounded comrades.

Reportedly, there were women and children among them, all brandishing firearms.

Dr. Samsia Dimapinto recalled that one woman was frantically asking for assistance to save a 20-year old wounded fighter, her son, who was half-conscious and wounded in the abdomen: “He was gasping. He was a Maute. But we still attended to him, of course. There [she indicated]. That’s where we attended to him.”

Guns were pointed at Dr. Dimapinto, she recalled: “I was the one who applied the intubation [inserting an endotracheal tube through the mouth and then into the airway for breathing purposes] on the Maute fighter. But he eventually died of his wounds.”

It has been more than two months since, but the doctors still very much feels the trauma. “Even as we go about our duty on shift-rota basis, we have not shaken the fear … every time we hear the crack of gunfire, or a bomb going off … we have not gotten used to all that after all this time. But we still manage to carry on.”

Just this last July 28, a patient, Dodong [not his real name] was brought in, who had been trapped for the last couple of months up on a roof deck, where he told of seeing women fighters ordering children to ransack abandoned houses.

“They were real fighters,” Dodong shared. “Mag pusil pusil sila. They would aim at the sky and open fire at swooping aircraft.”

The military reckons there could be as many as 200 civilians stranded at or around ground zero, but Dodong has his doubts.

“Not quite possible,” he retorts. “Most of the houses have been razed by the Maute.”

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