MULTIMEDIA

Eid: A day of peace for Marawi

Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2017 10:25 AM | Updated as of Jul 03 2017 08:59 AM

The feast to break the fasting after the holy month of Ramadan used to be the biggest celebration in the only Islamic city in the Philippines.

But the celebrators are not in Marawi City this year. Instead, they are scattered all over the country, commemorating Eid with relatives or in evacuation centers scattered in Lanao del Sur and neighboring provinces.

This year's Eid is the loneliest for the estimated 230,000 residents of Marawi. Residents are nowhere to be found in the streets of the city. Instead, an eerie silence prevails after a month of continuous pounding of bombs and endless exchange of gunfire between government troops and the terrorist Maute Group.

The silence is brought by a "humanitarian pause" in hostilities declared by the Philippine military to commemorate the Eid. That silence enabled personnel from Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to enter the war zone thru a negotiated "peace corridor" to bring out residents trapped in the ruins of the once proud city.

But the pause was just temporary. Before the ceasefire was to end, guns started firing after peacekeepers rescued 5 trapped residents. They say hundreds more are left, and worse, many more are dead.

In place of the celebration, the displaced Marawi residents have turned to prayers dedicated to the city, to bring back its glory or at least end the fighting that is destroying it.

The dawn heralds the start of a new day after the monthlong celebration of Ramadan. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

In the town of Saguiaran in Lanao del Sur, the evacuation center for 400 families was temporarily vacated to give way for the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Despite being away from their homes in Marawi City, children don their best clothes to celebrate the Eid. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The evacuees bring out their best clothes from whatever they were able to bring when they hurriedly left Marawi City to escape the fighting. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Most of the women managed to save their best traditional wear while escaping Marawi so they can wear it for the Eid. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

A child takes care of her sibling and the family's only belongings they were able to bring to the evacuation center. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The evacuees put up a curtain wall to separate the men from the women during prayers. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

A Muslim woman peeks behind the curtain wall to the other side. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Men prepare the mats for praying. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The curtain wall separates the men and women during the Salat or Eid prayers. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The men raise their hands as they recite Allahu Akbar or God is great. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

A young Muslim copies his elder Muslims. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The women participate in the prayers together with their babies. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

In the provincial capitol of Lanao del Sur in Marawi City, a soldier lowers the gun on an armored personnel carrier parked in the compound. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

After the prayers at the capitol, evacuees and guests were all treated with a meal, as is customary to break the fasting during Ramadan. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

A group of men walk back to the evacuation center at the capitol with their food. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Two young evacuees walk back to the evacuation center with their food and drinks. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

An evacuee staying in the corridor of the building being used as an evacuation center eats the meal provided for the Eid. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Women evacuees at the Buru-un evacuation center in Iligan City mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

Some of the evacuees become emotional as prayers for Marawi are said. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

A woman evacuee breaks into tears as prayers for Marawi are said. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

Christians in Iligan prepare bouquets of roses to give to the evacuees staying in the city as a gesture of solidarity to what is happening to their Muslim brothers in Marawi City. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

A Catholic woman gives roses to a Muslim evacuee in Buru-un, Iligan City after the Eid prayers. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

A Catholic nun entertains Muslim children in the evacuation center in Buru-un, Iligan City. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

Back in Marawi City, soldiers stay on patrol even during the "humanitarian pause" declared by the military on its offensives against the terrorist Maute Group. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

During the ceasefire, peacekeepers enter the conflict area to try to save people trapped inside the Marawi battle zones. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Regional Police Security Battalion of the PNP ARMM guard strategic areas around Marawi City as tension continues even during the ceasefire. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Large areas around Marawi City remain closed even as the conflict area is concentrated in four barangays comprising 10% of the territory. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The peacekeepers from the OPAPP return from the conflict area with five rescued residents. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The rescued residents are processed for clearance, debriefing and medical checkup before they are routed to evacuation centers. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News