We rise from the rubble
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

On Oct. 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City “liberated” after terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed by government forces.

Today, we continue our fight against insurgency by building peace. Contrary to how some groups may perceive our Armed Forces, or even our National Police, and despite the challenges we face, our national defense and law enforcers understand that the road to a better nation is led by the primary goal for peace.

Marawi was home to around 200,000 people who were left devastated after the bloody, five-month battle between government forces and members of the Maute terror group who laid siege to the Islamic city.

The terror in Marawi claimed the lives of more than a thousand individuals which included our troops who made the ultimate sacrifice to save our nation.

As we commemorate both our loss and triumph we have gained the right momentum with our convergence for peace and prosperity. Today we are witnessing region after region all efforts which are now including stronger community involvement in their commitment to end insurgency.

National security issues seem to be (and it is about time) more understood on the ground level. If there is one lesson we learned from Marawi it is that everyone has a role to play and no one gets left behind.

The whole of nation approach as we have often discussed is truly a very simple formula. It is about finally coming together as one. Little do we know that in as much as our soldiers are at the forefront of war, they too are ready to serve in the delivery of basic services and the cultivation of livelihood as well as in the area of education. We have and always will be partners here.

As an educator, it is from my own personal experience that I witnessed how our troops have been a symbol of peace in our communities. Every time a hijab trooper walks into an affected area, children feel nothing but safe in the arms of a teacher and confidant dressed in battle gear.

Prosperity truly is a convergence. Over and over again I will reiterate on this word as this is simply what it takes to end a 50-year-old battle that has cost the lives of many and to no avail. We are in the healing stage which is why all the more it is important that we unite and build together.

It can be done – we are on our way. As the saying goes, “when our convictions are strong enough, we rise above the rubble. It is time to rise.

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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