UAE aid to Marawi to focus on public health, schools
MARAWI CITY—The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will prioritize health and education over the rebuilding of mosques in this city as it readied funds to help rehabilitate this once bustling Islamic city that was reduced to rubble after a five-month siege by Islamic State-linked groups in 2017.
UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Saeed Al-Zaabi said that while he had seen the mosques destroyed by the fighting at Marawi’s business district, his government would focus its assistance on the rehabilitation of schools, the construction of a child and youth center and a center for orphans, and a rural health facility in Butig town in Lanao del Sur.
Celebrating Eid al-Adha
The UAE Embassy, he said, would also fund the architectural and operational plans earlier requested by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for Marawi City.
Al-Zaabi visited Marawi City last week to celebrate Eid al-Adha with displaced Marawi residents staying at Bahay ng Pagbabago transitory site in Barangay Sagonsongan, where he distributed a kilogram of beef to each family in time for the Feast of Sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. He also joined some 2,000 Maranaos in a congregational prayer on Sunday at Dianalan Mosque in Iligan City.
Faisal Mohd Nabil, the embassy’s information technology manager, said funds for these projects were available but the embassy was waiting for the Marawi government to send them a list of schools that needed to be rehabilitated or rebuilt.
Al-Zaabi went to the “ground zero” of the fighting, now referred to by the government as the “most affected area” at the city center, where he visited the heavily damaged Grand Mosque and Bato Ali Mosque. At least 31 mosques were destroyed in the city. —DIVINA M. SUSON
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