Three years after the liberation of Marawi City from Islamic State (IS)-linked militants, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday that violent extremism remains the biggest threat to the country.
In commemorating Marawi’s liberation, she renewed her call on concerned agencies to hasten efforts in the recovery and rehabilitation of the country’s only Islamic city.
She said that the conflict-stricken city is a reminder of the threat posed by violent extremism.
“To truly address it, frustrations must be met with compassion. Empowerment must become the foremost imperative. Equitable and inclusive progress must be achieved for the people of Marawi,” she said.
The vice president pointed out that “liberation entails much more than silencing the gunfire.”
The siege erupted on May 23, 2017 when the ISIS-linked Maute Group attacked and tried to take over the Islamic city, prompting a military operation that lasted for five months and decimated much of its busiest districts.
The clash ended in October on the same year, as leaders of the militants were killed. Scars of the months-long fighting are still visible in most parts of Marawi.
Robredo paid tribute to the government troops and innocent people who were killed in the fighting.
”We remember the innocents who lost their lives in this conflict. We honor our soldiers— those who exhibited courage and determination during those dark, dangerous months, especially those who fell, making the ultimate sacrifice for peace,” she said.
To this day, Robredo said Marawi continues to be in ruins and its residents remain displaced, as it has yet to “reclaim any semblance of normalcy, much less its former glory as a cultural and economic hub.”