Duterte ribs Maranaos: You’ll bounce back, you know how to print cash
ILIGAN CITY – President Duterte believes the Maranao people can weather the crisis in Marawi City, which was brought upon them by the intrusion of extremists led by the Maute group.
“My God, you’re Maranaos,” Duterte said on Tuesday, eliciting laughter from evacuees, whom he had talked to inside the evacuation center in Barangay Buru-un here.
Duterte said the Maranao people have proven their resilience in weathering many crises, and their ability to flourish just about anywhere.
The Maranaos, according to the President, are so enterprising they can fabricate “just about anything.”
“You see, you can even make jewelry that can pass off as real gold or in some cases, you pass it off as real gold,” he said – eliciting more laughter.
He said that the Maranao people could also make bills that looked not much different from the genuine cash.
“You know, even money, you can make that,” he said with a wide grin.
“If I were governor here, I would have been so rich by now,” he added, drawing applause and more laughter from the crowd – consisting mainly of Maranao evacuees and government officials.
Turning serious, Duterte said his heart bled for what Marawi has turned into – the widespread destruction because of the fighting – and reminded them of his Maranao blood from his mother’s side.
“And I have also grandchildren who are Moro, half-Maranao, half-Tausug and half-Maguindanaon,” he said.
With his lineage in mind, Duterte vowed never to leave the people of Marawi alone and help them until their full recovery from the effects of the crisis.
Duterte also vowed the full rehabilitation of the city and the rebuilding of their homes by government.
He said he had set aside P20 billion for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the city – P10 billion more from his earlier pledge.
“I will prioritize the poor. Never mind the wealthy ones,” he said.
Duterte pledged to help the people of Marawi “up to (the) relocation (stage).”
“And then we will rehabilitate. Marawi will regain its splendor. It will become beautiful again,” he added.
Aina Imam Calanda from Barangay Bangolo in Marawi said she had expected Duterte to be encouraging as he was.
“I had already expected that and I also expected that he would help us through,” the 21-year old Arabic school student said.
Calanda said she was not faulting Duterte for what happened to Marawi because “some people indeed have become lawless.”
“Drugs are everywhere, and now this Maute, which is teaching us another version of Islam,” she said.
Calanda said she and her family were elated to hear Duterte talk about rehabilitating the city after the fighting.
“I hope it would really happen,” she said.
Alan Coscolado, a resident of Datu Saber village in Marawi City, expressed hope that the rehabilitation of Marawi could take place soon.
Coscolado also sought financial help for Marawi families for their other needs.
“We have plenty of food here but we also have other needs,” he said.
Coscolado said the government might also want to give them support to re-establish their livelihood after the fighting
“We wish that Marawi will become peaceful soon so that we will be able to go home already,” he added. SFM
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