Whatever praises they say for its rehab, Marawi has not yet truly recovered

The latest series of payouts to the Marawi Siege beneficiaries, at this early part of the year are in full swing as of this writing.  While the recipients, who have been thronged the encashment centers are understandably elated to receive their much-needed cash, the event should serve as food for thought, considering that after more than three years after the tragedy that befell Marawi, the city and its people have yet to fully recover.

Everywhere one goes, where Mranaws are bound to be found, it can be observed that there are more of this once-proud people — men, women, and even children —  begging on the streets, having had their already previously small incomes and livelihoods torn away from them three years ago. This would have been unthinkable years ago. There is something wrong.

Mranaws lining up for various kinds of relief services, whether food, cash, or medical services until now, cramped in crowded shelters with not much certainty regarding their lost properties, their sanity, and in some cases, their loved ones, should make any right-minded person worry about where would these people be in the next four to five years after the siege. Something is very wrong.

Knowing that so much assistance has been extended from national and even international sources and yet nothing impactful has happened is mind-boggling.  Seeing that the ruins in the most affected parts of Marawi have yet to rise, three years after the tragedy, is maddening. The complacency and even acceptance with which everyone seems to have imbibed regarding the matter, is disgusting. Something is really wrong.

It will not take a genius to realize that, in spite of the catchy phrase that the head agency tasked with the rehabilitation of the city had named itself, hindi pa rin talaga nakakabangon ang Marawi. (Marawi has not yet really recovered.)

Is it safe to hope for a miracle, preferably not on the months before the next elections? Maybe. Maybe not. Unless the people wisely decide with their votes. Unless those who will be the next to assume positions of power will overturn the status quo and give to Marawi and her people what is really needed. Unless real justice is given to Marawi City. Till then, the ordinary citizen will still be accosted by beggars in the streets and the lines for relief and aid will grow longer. PMT

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