Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra declared that they are on their way to being well as residents commemorated the siege that occurred two years ago. He said, although, the full extent of the rehabilitation process has yet to be completed, Gandamra urged the people in Marawi to put more emphasis on social healing.
The people of Marawi recently celebrated the Week of Peace Festival with the culmination held right at the grounds of the City Hall, where two years ago, the mayor and several of his security men stood firm for days preventing the Maute group from burning the City Hall.
The culmination was graced by Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr., who was then the chief of Western Mindanao Command, shared that just like their mayor who fought against the ISIS-linked group tooth and nail, the people of Marawi have shown their best by being resilient right at the height of the conflict.
Speaking before the people of Marawi City, Galvez emphasized that Marawi stand to benefit from the establishment of the Bangsamoro region.
“The opportunity for us to heal, rebuild, and recover is within reach. With the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, the fate of this beautiful city now rests not only in the hands of the new leadership but also in your hands,” he said.
Meanwhile, Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, chair of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, few families affected by the conflict are still residing in evacuation camps. He said at the initial aftermath of the siege, there were about 57 evacuation centers with almost 6,000 families within and outside of Marawi. Now we have only two evacuation centers in Marawi with only about 312 families.
He said by July, all of these families will be accommodated in the temporary shelters. Those families who applied for building and reconstruction permits from the city government of Marawi will be allowed to go back in the most affected area.
Rosario said Marawi is gradually bouncing back.
To achieve a holistic approach for the healing process, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is partnering with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to help rehabilitate former members of the Maute group.
Col. Romeo Brawner, the commander of Task Force Ranao, said it is also important to intervene in the deradicalization of these individuals who were duped to join the Maute group.
Galvez said his office will be helping the military in Lanao areas to bring down the level of animosity between the victims of the conflict and surrendered perpetrators. He said what is needed is the implementation of transitional justice and reconciliation here.
Part of the activities is to meet with the members of the Maute group who have surrendered and their families for an Iftar.Brawner said they will tap these former and reformed combatants to prevent others from radicalizing.
Galvez also went to the Sarimanok Evacuation Center together with OPAPP personnel to handover goods in solidarity with the internally displaced persons.
The visit is part of the yearly Duyog Ramadan that OPAPP is implementing during the month-long observance.
The activity was capped with the laying of wreath led by Galvez, Rosario, Gandamra and Brawner to commemorate the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to liberate Marawi.
The ceremony was held inside the 103rd Infantry Brigade.