ARMM vice gov seeks Congress help to get displaced Maranaos back home
Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr. of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) prepared for speech for the special joint session of Congress on Saturday pleading for help in bringing back Maranaos displaced by fighting in Marawi City.
But he was not given a chance to speak. So his daugther, Harissa Lucman, posted the speech on Facebook on Sunday.
“Martial law to us is repressive, abusive, and dehumanizing,” the vice governor said in his speech. “That is the martial law that we suffered during the Marcos rule. Our people fear it and abhor it.”
He clarified, however, that the ARMM supports the military campaign against Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group in Marawi.
“Let me first be clear on the position of the ARMM government on these terror groups. We support the military campaign against them and we want them completely neutralized. We must not allow them to regroup and sow terror in our lands,” Lucman said. “ISIS is against humanity as a whole and humanity must unite in fighting them.”
Lucman noted in his undelivered speech that the number of internally-displaced peoples (IDP) had already reached 527,000, according to the National Emergency Operations Center. This number, he said, had surpassed the actual population of Marawi, which is 207,000.
“The reason is that even those in the municipalities of the province have fled to other areas outside of Lanao. Some for economic reason, but many because of fear of martial law,” he said.
The ARMM leader said, however, that he had no problem with martial law, except that his people fear it.
“I have no problem with martial law. I know my rights under its rule,” he said. “But our people fled as far away as they can and scattered in many places because they fear martial law.”
“Yesterday [Friday], the Manila police rounded up Muslim boys in Quiapo for questioning because according to sources they carry no identification cards,” he added. “It’s hard enough being an IDP. It’s doubly hard living in a place not your own and suspected of being a terrorist.”
At the end of his speech, he urged lawmakers to be sensitive to his people’s sentiments.
“Your honors, whatever your decision here, please feel our people’s sentiments,” he said. “We want to go home. Lanao is the only place we want to be,” Lucman said. “Please bring us back home.”
In her Facebook post, Harissa Lucman added a note about a photo of her father that came with the speech: “This picture was taken yesterday while he was writing his speech at the Congress. He was there, waiting for his chance to speak in behalf of us Maranaos. But he was not given the chance. Posting this speech was not meant for his personal publicity, and besides, this was posted per demand. This was meant to give us hope. This was meant to make us, Maranaos, somehow feel assured that our public officials (or at least some) are not abandoning us. And maybe, through this post, our sentiments will reach those who are in the higher ups. We are all in this together!” /atm
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