Aerial view of Marawi City via UNTV Drone
MARAWI CITY, Philippines — A year since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City from terrorists on October 17, 2017, residents still cannot shake off the fear that a similar incident could descend upon them again.
“Yung takot di naman mawawala yun eh. Kasi ever since hindi nangyari sa amin itong ganito, tapos bigla na lang nangyari. Kaya sa puso namin may takot pa rin kami (The fear never goes away. We’ve never had any incidents until the battle broke out all of a sudden. That is why there is still fear in our hearts),” said Norfaidah Magdara, a businesswoman and resident of Marawi.
College student Salmiah Maca Agir echoed the same apprehensions.
“We feel secure na rin po pero may mga time pa rin po na natatakot ka kasi we never know po na may panahon na magkakaroon ng ganong pangyayari ulit (We feel secure in a way, but there are times that we still feel afraid because you don’t know when a similar incident will strike again),” she said.
Those who are still stuck in evacuation centers lament the long wait for the promised housing units.
“Even though sinasabi nla na liberated na nga pero yung idea na wala ka pa rin sa bahay mo wala ka pa rin sa sinasabi mong home (Even though they say we have been liberated, we still don’t have houses we can call home)” said Agir.
According to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), debris clearing operations in the most affected area will begin this month.
By the end of October they expect to finally hold the long-awaited ground breaking ceremony of the city’s rehabilitation which will be led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“In the next few days we will see the deployment of heavy equipment, mga gamit na gagamitin sa (and materials needed for ) debris clearing in sectors 1&2,” TFBM field office manager. Asec. Felix Castro said.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the local government is grateful for all the assistance being given to them; however, they admit feeling frustrated by the slow progress of the rehabilitation efforts.
“Ako’y naiinip but at the same time naintindihan ko ang ating gobyerno. Ako po ay nasa gobyerno at alam ko ang proseso. Even sa local po yung pag iimplement natin ng mga projects dumadaan sa proseso (I am frustrated but at the same time I understand the government’s side. I am part of the government and I’m familiar with the process. Even in the local level, implementations of project go through a process),” he said.
At present, life in Marawi City is slowly returning to normal, particularly in Barangay Basak Malutlut where the battle began in May 2017. — Weng Fernandez