Gutoc appeals to gov’t to prevent repeat of Marawi’s devastation in Jolo
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition senatorial bet Samira Gutoc has made an appeal to the government to prevent a repeat of Marawi’s devastation in Jolo, Sulu by focusing on “long-term, peace-centered solutions.”
“Huwag po sanang mangyari sa Jolo ang nangyari sa Marawi City. Huwag po sana nating iparamdam sa mga taga-Jolo na etsa pwera sila sa mga plano ng gobyerno,” Gutoc, a civic leader from the Islamic city of Marawi, said in a statement after hundreds of families were reportedly displaced by the offensives of the military against alleged Abu Sayyaf bandits.
(Let us hope that what happened to Marawi will not happen in Sulu. Let us not make Jolo residents feel excluded from the plans of the government.)
“I call on our government to focus on long-term, peace-centered solutions to address the displacement brought about by these terror attacks or insurgencies,” she added.
The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Sulu was hit by two explosions, leaving 21 dead and at least 100 injured, last Sunday.
The Inquirer reported that 399 families with 1,197 dependents fled barangays Bungkaung and Upper Latih in Jolo, but they were not given transportation, while their farm animals — the only source of livelihood for some of them — were left unsecured.
The welfare of internally displaced persons (IDPs) should be a priority of the administration through legislation, provision of basic social services for their livelihood, and even providing for their psychological and emotional needs, Gutoc said.
“Ang kailangan ng ating mga IDPs ay batas, hindi dahas. Dapat may proteksiyon sila sa ilalim ng batas (Our IDPs need laws, not force. They should have protection under our laws). While the government should fight peace spoilers, it should also protect the people, not just from physical harm but from totally losing their hope in peace,” she said.
“As a bakwit who experienced the same during the Marawi siege, I understand that our fellow Filipinos are already tired and suffering. Their lives and even their education have been disrupted for so long,” she added. “It is time that we focus on their access to quality social services, especially in the aspect of livelihood, as well as psychological and emotional needs,” she added. /ee
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