Marawi residents appeal to return to their roots

Published March 31, 2018, 3:38 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Francis Pangilinan has supported appeals from Marawi City residents to let them return to their homes and stop the establishment of the proposed economic zone in the war-torn city.

Senator Francis N. Pangilinan ( Jun Ryan Aranas ) / MANILA BULLETIN
Senator Francis Pangilinan
(Jun Ryan Aranas ) / MANILA BULLETIN

“Let them rebuild from their roots,” Pangilinan said. “We support the call of the Marawi residents to be allowed to return to their homeland and repair or make new homes on the same site where they were situated before the siege.”

Pangilinan made the statement following the call issued by the Ranaw Multi-Sectoral Movement, a group of Marawi residents displaced by the battle between government troops and extremist militants linked with the Islamic State (ISIS) last year.

The group asked President Duterte to stop the plan to build an ecozone as proposed by the Task Force Bangon Marawi as part of the efforts to rehabilitate the city, saying the residents were not consulted about the plan.

The group also appealed to the President to let the resident rebuild the city on their own with his “guidance, support and protection.”

Pangilinan, for his part, said that while he is aware of its benefits to the local economy, the plan to build the ecozone “should not infringe on the ancestral lands of the Maranaw and other residents of the city.”

“Their home is where their families converge, where their Islamic faith has been grounded, where their value systems have been established,” he noted.

Pangilinan added that they should also have a say in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the strife-torn city.

He also implored the government to provide Marawi residents access to resources, particulary, funds and materials, “to ease the burden of those whose houses had been flattened or damaged from the fighting.”

“They should be allowed to return to ground zero and be given assistance, if not compensation, for the damages to their homes and properties. After all, what we are rebuilding is not simply structures, but lives of the Marawi people,” Pangilinan said.