Bangon Marawi
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

What a privilege and honor it is to be part of a team that headed to Marawi with international media to specifically address the ongoing rehabilitation in the area. Since there is so much to touch on this issue especially since fake news continues to surround the rehabilitation efforts, I will take the opportunity to showcase how this beautiful city is not just recovering but also regaining its spirit.

Hence therefore, I am going to make this column a two part series beginning with the ‘basics’ which for me is simply the issue on security.

Early this morning, the PCOO team, together with international media among others, headed to Marawi aboard a C150 from the Philippine Air Force via Clark. It was rather evident that everyone was not only excited but also very eager to know the master plan. Like I mentioned earlier, there has been an ongoing demolition job – “black propaganda” as we also call it, with regard to the rehabilitation program in Marawi.

While some call for the end of martial law alleging to certain “fears” on a possible dictatorship, the call to order in this region is the complete opposite where the residents themselves not only consider but rather prefer martial law. Seeing everything first hand, the rising city is happy with the current “setup” in terms of the peace and order situation under martial law, not to mention the surveys that confirm this. A person such as myself, who has lived in what everyone nowadays calls as “Imperial Manila,” and in my opinion, cannot possibly fathom the devastation that struck this city to date.

Having said this, and having seen the most affected areas where families have lived for generations as well as grew up with notable institutions that have left an imprint, it is clear to me that empowering Marawi through a more defined, distinct and perhaps even highly detailed process is the very same thing that is uplifting this city.

From where we are, being miles away from ground zero, it will absolutely take an exerted effort to strip oneself from what we have been accustomed to call as “the process” by which issues on crisis and insurgency are addressed by means that are actually only fitting to an area which is nothing like the city of Marawi whether it be culturally, logistically or at some point, even politically.

I am currently still in Marawi as I write this column in between briefs and so far, the master plan is intact and in tune with the more pressing needs focused on the local level. The Maranaws are a very resilient people. Commerce wise, Marawi is gaining momentum. In a few years, Marawi will stand strong again. Perhaps even better than before.

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