Displaced, displeased Marawi folk renew bid to return to ravaged city
ILIGAN CITY – Displeased with the sluggish progress of government’s rehabilitation efforts, displaced Marawi City residents are appealing anew that they be allowed to return to the war-ravaged city and rebuild their lives.
“Just let us go home and build our houses. Give us the money you have earmarked for us and we will forget everything,“ said Drieza Lininding, chairperson of the Moro Consensus Group.
Lininding said Marawi City’s internally displaced people (IDPs) are upset that they are not yet allowed to go back to their homes in the so-called most affected area (MAA) made up of 24 barangays where the battle between government troops and Islamic State militants broke out in 2017.
He said many displaced residents still endure poor living conditions in various temporary shelters that were set up by government.
A joint statement by Marawi City’s civil society and IDP leaders on Friday lamented the “government’s failure to ensure our dignified return to our war-ravaged communities in Marawi City.”
“It has been exactly 1,004 days since we were uprooted from our homes to escape the war spawned by a siege on Marawi by militants espousing violent extremism,” the statement read.
The Marawi City folks’ statement added that despite government’s much-touted “liberation” of the city from militants’ hands and the completion of the debris clearing operation, “there are still walls of uncertainties that bar us from going back and rebuilding our lives.”
On Friday, the displaced residents took to the streets in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur and Marawi City in the morning as some senators visited the so-called most affected area (MAA) of the five-month-long war in 2017.
In the afternoon, a bigger group of some 200 protesters marched to the Mindanao State University—Iligan Institute of Technology campus where a public hearing of the Senate special committee on Marawi rehabilitation was held.
“Ground Zero is ours. We want to go home,” read many of the placards displayed in Saguiaran and Marawi.
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