THE resetting of the Marawi City rehabilitation groundbreaking from July to last week of August was criticized by Maranaw leaders who called the initiative of the government to restore the war-ravaged city as “palpak” (failure).
For Drieza Lininding, head of the Moro Consensus Group, the rescheduling of the rehabilitation was a “disappointment,” at the same time, he also considered the delay as a “blessing in disguise” since the Duterte administration and the Marawi residents still have the time and opportunity to sit down and re-discuss the many issues surrounding the city’s recovery plan.
“At present, the government’s strategies and policies were not effective. It only made the Maranaos impatient. Many of them now want to get their land back. Most of them are now saying, ‘we don’t need any help from the government, we don’t want the Chinese firms to rehabilitate Marawi,’” Lininding said.
They have not felt the seriousness of the government in its recovery efforts. Presently, all they have are promises, he added.
He said what the Marawi residents want for their city were not heeded as they were not consulted when the government started to draw up a rehabilitation plan for the city.
“What we really want is for us to get back our land where our houses once stood. If there is any help from the government, we will welcome it,” he said.
Tirmizy Abdullah, an associate professor at the Mindanao State University in Marawi, the delay in the rehabilitation is proof that the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the body tasked with the recovery effort of the city, has not been effective.
“These are evidences that the TBFM has failed from the start. The TFBM should be disbanded as it is not community-led,” Abdullah said.
He has reiterated what has been the call of the displaced Marawi residents before, that is, for the TFBM to restore basic services and facilities inside the most affected areas like water system, electricity, drainage, road, among others, before the people can return to their communities.
Abdullah has also expressed his fear of the participation of the Chinese companies in the rehabilitation.
“The people don’t want that the government use the Chinese money in the rehabilitation since they know that it is not for free,” he said, adding that China might take ownership of Marawi if the money they spend will not be paid.
“Maranaos have strong spirit of resiliency and we believe that we don’t need to borrow from China just to recover,” he said.
Abdullah said that any further delay in the rehabilitation of Marawi would make it vulnerable to corruption, as it will slowly destroy the identity and dignity of its people.