EDITORIAL: On the 5th Anniversary of Marawi Siege

Today, Monday, May 23, the Philippines marks the fifth anniversary of the Marawi Siege. The Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) says rehabilitation of the war-torn city is more than 70% complete with several infrastructure projects now allegedly standing at where the rubble used to be.

But if you have been in the so-called Marawi Ground Zero, you will know TFBM 70 percent completed rehabilitation is an exaggeration if not a lie. And ironically, five years is too long to wait for residents who wish to return home.

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What makes us wonder is why evacuees are provided with permanent shelters. Are they no longer expected to return to their devastated homes?

As of posting, hundreds of IDPs and civil society organizations might have already started their way of commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Siege in which they plan to hold a public action at Marawi’s KM 00.00 in protest of the failure of the government to address their issues.

The organizers, calling themselves Reclaiming Marawi Movement (RMM) and Marawi Advocacy Accompaniment (MAA), dubbed Monday’s activity ‘Limang Taong Bakwit’ with a central message “Karapatan, Katarungan, at Kambalingan!”

They stressed: “Although, public facilities for the Meranaws were rebuilt, like the barangay complex, schools and hospital, the immediate concerns of the IDPs of returning to their homes remain unresolved.  Marawi IDPs have been existing under extremely difficult situations since their evacuation in May 2017. There are still unmet needs and issues while they wallow in the camps such as lack of food and livelihood, poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, access to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), livelihood, food security, basic services, education, and durable solutions. The dire state of the IDPs was further exacerbated during the COVID 19 pandemic.” (PMT)

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