By April Burcer
“We want a rehabilitation that is anchored on cultural sensitivity and respect to religion, which we still don’t see until now,” Marawi City Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar during an Eid’l Fit’r Solidarity Affair Wednesday evening at the University of the Philippines in Diliman said.
Atar said that what they want is simple – to just be allowed to go back to Marawi while it is undergoing rehabilitation instead of having to wait three to four years as proposed by the government.
The solidarity affair, organized by Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination and the Moro-Christian People’s Alliance (MCPA) in time for the end of the month-long Ramadan was held in support of the “Balik Marawi Now!” campaign that aims to help displaced Marawi residents to return to their homes.
The Sultan also expressed his concern over the proposed debris management that plans to dump millions of tons of debris into Lake Lanao for reclamation purposes.
“This is not only an issue of development but also an issue of the environment. The rehabilitation of Marawi should not only serve this generation but the next and the next. If the debris destroys Lake Lanao, what can we give to the future generation?” he asked.
Various organizations expressed their support, including Australian missionary Sr Patricia Fox who said that this problem is not isolated to the Philippines, but is also happening around the world “because of a system that does not recognize the rights of the people.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate promised that “the Makabayan bloc will file a resolution to investigate the increasing human rights violation in Marawi and the complaints surrounding the rehabilitation of the city, as we all know that this rehabilitation is not culturally insensitive.”
Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela Women’s Party, on the other hand, encouraged people in Luzon and Visayas to speak out and stand up for the Mindanaoans who suffer militarization.
Other groups present during the solidarity event included the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Musikang Bayan, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, Kadamay, among others. #