PART OF the heavily destroyed area in Marawi City is shown in this photo taken Oct. 2017 by the Lanao del Sur Provincial Crisis Management Committee.
MARAWI CITY-based civil society organization leader Drieza A. Lininding said they welcome President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s recent remarks on the Marawi rehabilitation as it clarifies the government’s stance on the reconstruction of ravaged homes. “It is a welcome development in a sense that finally, the President already answered the speculations whether or not the government will support the reparation for the destroyed houses in Marawi,” Mr. Lininding said in a message. “If they would not support the rehabilitation (of private houses), might as well let us come home… It is sad because the citizens of the city already hoped that their houses will be rebuilt,” he added. Mr. Duterte, speaking last Tuesday during the situation briefing on the effects of the April 22 earthquake in Luzon, cited the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council’s (HUDCC) mass housing project in Marawi as a good structural example for relocating the poor, but added, “The debate there is whether I would be also building the same kind that they lost. I don’t think I am ready for that.” He added, “I don’t think that I should be spending for their buildings… Marami man ‘yang pera ‘yang mga tao diyan (People there have a lot of money). Every Maranao, there is a businessman. Kasali na ‘yang shabu (Including the trading of the illegal drug shabu). On the other hand, Mr. Lininding said these businesses have been lost with the devastation of Marawi. Mr. Lininding said they are considering filing charges against Mr. Duterte after he vacates his post, along with others who could be made accountable for the 2017 four-month gun battle. “We will see in the near future, ‘pag hindi na s’ya (when he is no longer) president, we might consider… Sana buhay pa sya para maramdaman n’ya ‘yung sakit na naramdaman namin (We hope he will still be alive then so he can feel the pain that we feel),” Mr. Lininding said. Mr. Duterte, in his speech on Oct. 17, 2017 when Marawi was declared to have been liberated, hinted that he had no intention of helping those residents who supported and helped the IS-inspired local terror group that laid siege to the city. In March this year, Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairperson and HUDCC Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario promised the displaced Marawi residents during a public consultation that the debris clearing inside the most affected areas will be finished by August, which will then allow residents to return by “first week of September.” — Tajallih S. Basman