Hidalgo: Closures to Marawi crisis

THE Mautes fighting for their ideology, the ISIS, has been going on unabated. Unrest, serial bombings, distractions, killings, fires are daily events.

We, peaceful citizens of Mindanao are on edge with fear and apprehension. Why here? It is our misfortune. We are alarmed. Martial Law was proclaimed. Relatives have been asking us to leave Davao. This we could not do. We consider Davao as our adopted city since 1998 and we love it. We are its adopted citizens. My son, Architect Francis was assigned to teach at UP Mindanao. His wife, Architect Cecile had established their Hidalgo Architects Firm here. Cecile has also established her Ballet School in Matina. She caters to the Davao kids and adults to learn and appreciate dance and music. I have retired here since 1999, when my husband died and I was left alone in Manila. I had to relocate and join my son here in Davao. No regrets. I learned to love Davao until the frightening Marawi Siege.

As a columnist of this paper, I have to keep abreast of what is happening in Marawi City. I have been disturbed by this tumultuous event. There were times when I did not like to be unduly affected. I tried to see the thin silver linings amidst the troubled events to assuage the minds of my readers. At age 86, this siege is too disturbing for me.

As I write this column, I felt some relief because there are signs of closures to these heartrending episode in our life in Mindanao. I had kept a chronicle of the daily events of the siege in detail but I know my readers are familiar with these also. I will just center on the end scenarios of the Marawi siege.

The Mautes out of despair for the imminent loss have started killing even their own group. They commit arson, burning what is left in the city. They murder the Christians in the city. There was looting of houses not yet destroyed by fire. Some Mautes escaped by boats to Lake Lanao incognito. Most parts of the city are destroyed. Peaceful citizens who ran away for safety have no homes to return to. Even their places for worship are turned into arsenals, severely criticized by the Imams. The peaceful Mautes who carry this name are all suspects.

Endless lines of "bakwits" either walking or riding in trucks are seen during the siege. They transfer to nearby cities until Cagayan de Oro or as far as Davao to live with relatives. They carry no food or basic provisions and just depend on supplies, the Care Packages by generous groups of neighboring cities.

As they end the Ramadan fast they pray to Allah. They resolve this. There must be no conflict among Moslems and Christians. There must be unity in diversity. There must be forgiveness on both sides. Let us learn to forgive. The ISIS are the extremists or fundamentalists who behead Christians to offer their heads to their Allah. It is absurd to kill to satisfy your god.

We, peace loving Filipinos are praying that similar events as the Marawi siege will not spread to Manila and the rest of the Visayas. Our Armies are on alert for this eventualities. They are even training civilians for military assistance when needed. Heartrending scenarios are seen in evacuation places where families separated meet one another after a month. A young boy looking blankly into space met his mother with a tight embrace. Other elder ones are depressed. All of them need debriefing by psychologists. Many are sick and died of heart failures.

As the curtain falls on these unforgettable scenarios, the "bakwits," children and adults alike have to return to their normal lives. Children have to go back to schools. Adults men and women have to be given ways and means for livelihood. The government had pledged to raise funds to rebuild Marawi City. Other agencies promised help also.

After the storm, the rainbow appears to usher better sunny days. We are praying for this.

For comments text cp. no. 09202112534.


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