NCMF: Include civil society in Marawi rehabilitation

THE National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) urged the National Government to include more Moro civil society organizations in crafting strategies to rebuild peace in Marawi City as some plans set by various government agencies lack context and have conflicting agenda.

NCMF -Davao Peace building and Conflict Resolution division chief lawyer Rahana Jhan Ganda said the national rebuilding plans are only limited to some National Government agencies that do not have firsthand information and experiences on the affected places at hand.

"The government must be flexible in exploring local initiatives to strengthen resilience and improve the relationships inside the Marawi community," she said.

Ganda said Marawi City has many local civil society organizations who have worked together with government agencies and military troops in addressing security issues before, which can be useful in solving the existing conflict caused by the Maute terrorist group.

One way, by which the government can find Maranao civil society useful, she said, is by looking at the traditional Maranao structure to resolve residual issues inside Marawi crisis and could possibly foster reconciliation of affected communities.

However, she said the civil society groups must be cautious in implementing this with a clear purpose to prevent misconceptions that they are replacing the function of government institutions as collaboration of both parties in conducting this must be recognized.

"The role of Moro civil society groups has been most visible in relief operations. Why don't we include them in discussions as they could help tilt and balance the narratives," Ganda said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff General Eduardo Año said the military is open to the possibility of welcoming Moro civil organizations in crafting rebuilding strategies as the siege in Marawi City still continues.

Año said the cooperation of national government agencies, non-government agencies, and civil society groups are important to expedite the resolution of the chaos in Marawi and the possible rehabilitation of affected residents.

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