In Marawi, 27 unclaimed bodies laid to rest

Sep. 05, 2017

In this file photo taken last July 24, 2017, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur buries 27 sets of human remains in Maqbar Public Cemetery in Barangay Papandayan Caniogan, Marawi City. Another batch of 27 sets of remains recovered from the city were buried in the same cemetery on Tuesday, Sept. 5. (Divina M. Suson/

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Some 27 unclaimed bodies of those who died in the ongoing war in Marawi City were laid to rest on Tuesday, September 5, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur said.

The remains were buried in Maqbara Public Cemetery in Barangay Papandayan Caniogan, Marawi City, where the first batch of 27 sets of human bones were buried on July 24, coinciding President Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address.

Samples of the bodies’ deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) were been taken by the police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) for families of the victims, said Danilo Capin, an owner of a funeral home were the bodies were brought.

“There are still five human remains left here (at the morgue), we cannot bury them yet because these did not undergo SOCO DNA testing,” Capin said in an interview.

He said two of the remains were retrieved last September 3 while three others were retrieved on the following day.

Capin said two identified cadavers were included in the burial because “the family did not come back” to show to them the result of the DNA which the SOCO conducted.

“Perhaps the result was negative. But we informed them that we are going to bury all the cadavers because it already has foul smell and it is already more than one month that we kept on injecting medicines on it,” Capin said.

In Islamic law, bodies are supposed to be buried as soon as death has occurred.

One of those bodies was of a bakery worker from Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte who was identified by the mother, while the other cadaver was first identified by a family member through the identification card found near the remains.

When the crisis in Marawi started last May 23, there were already 79 human remains and bones brought in Capin Funeral Homes since May 27.

Zia Adiong, spokesperson of Lanao del Sur’s Crisis Committee, said before the victims were buried, they gave them “Salatul Ma’yet” or the prayers for the dead.

“We make sure that these victims are given decent burial rites and appropriate individual space in accordance with religious and cultural sensitivities,” Adiong said.

Adiong said relatives of the missing persons may approach officials of the committee, or consult with the “Missing Person Center” in Iligan City and submit swab samples for the ante-mortem procedure.

He said the relatives may also contact the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to report the identity of their missing relatives.
The ICRC on August 30 launched a website which helps families trace their missing loved ones.

As of September 1 the Joint Task Force Marawi recorded 45 civilians killed, 620 suspected terrorists killed and 136 government troops killed. (with reports from Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/


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