ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – The assistant director of the Civil Service Commission – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao died when he was hit by a stray bullet on Thursday, Sept. 7 while at the gate of the main campus of Mindanao State University in Marawi City.
Police said that 45-year old Marvin P. Ablando and his companion, ARMM CSC Director Sandrah Arnica Usman, 43, were on their way out of the campus going to the provincial capitol when their vehicle was hit by a stray bullet.
Victims were immediately rushed to Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City for treatment but Abando was declared dead on arrival by attending physician while Uzman, who sustained minor wound on her head is now out of danger and recuperating at her home.
The stray bullet entered the windshield hitting Ablando who was sitting on the passenger’s seat. The same bullet grazed Usman’s head. Usman was reportedly sitting behind Ablando.
The military found out later that the bullet that hit the victims is that of the .50 caliber rifle.
Army Captain Mike Malacad of the 4th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office explained that the maximum range of the .50 caliber rifle or gun is 6,812 meters (7,450 yards) while its maximum effective range is 1,829 meters (2,000 yards).
“However, it may vary of what kind of ammunition is being used for the rifle or fire arm,” Malacad said.
In a press briefing, ARMM Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee of Lanao del Sur, said the incident shows that it is not yet safe for the civilians to go back to their respective homes despite the declaration of the military that some areas outside the main battle area are already cleared by the terrorist presence.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Join Task Force Marawi, reiterated that the military has not declared any safe area from stray bullets, “just controlled areas”.
“In controlled areas, we have control over the entries and exits including the security condition inside (Marawi). We still have to investigate where the bullet came from since about the same time yesterday our helicopters were being shot by terrorists,” Petinglay said.
In the past months, stray bullets also hit inside the compound of the provincial capitol.
The first casualty of a stray bullet that hit outside the main battle area was the 15-year old boy who was praying inside the mosque near the army brigade.
Last June, Australian journalist Adam Harvey was also hit by stray bullet on his neck while doing his coverage.(davaotoday.com)