Of those who have been too disappointed on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte is the Maranao people, particularly the displaced and victims of the tragic 2017 Marawi Siege whose devastated homes and properties have yet to be rebuilt and who are even fearful if they can really return to their homes.
In his SONA, the President did not mention anything about the Marawi rehabilitation. You cannot therefore blame the displaced Maranaos for being fearful whether they can really return to their homes. Many of them who have suffered due to the siege are now suffering the more amidst the pandemic Covid-19.
In a statement, the Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW), an independent multistakeholder dialogue group that harnesses skills and professions to help in the Marawi reconstruction process and channels wider public attention and participation in its monitoring, has aptly revealed the feelings of those people who have been waiting to return to normal life after the siege. It best describes the questions they badly need to ask and to be answered with urgency.
MRCW whose members are from Marawi and most of them Maranaos with no one person or leader to speak on their behalf, and each step they take is a collective one, has issued the following statement:.
The President elucidated plans for national recovery and resilience that he wants to pursue for all Filipinos. But what about the Maranao who have been waiting for three fruitless years—way before the pandemic and its consequent economic crisis?
He proposed to launch a more vigorous Balik-Probinsya program and the creation of new economic zones. Well how about a Balik-Marawi program to deter deaths and disease in the refugee camps and to stem the rise of violent extremists that have tapped into local discontent?
He made a plea to Congress to prioritize the recovery of the economy through financial subsidies, easier loans, and rental reforms.
Well what about the promised yet much delayed compensation to stimulate the economy in an area ravaged by war and destitution. When will you direct Congress to prioritize the Marawi Compensation Bill?
We are one with all Filipinos in desiring a quicker release from the health and economic crisis we all face. But how can we trust your word or believe your promises when you have not honoured your promises to us?