Marawi siege

Six SONAs later, displaced Marawi families still barred from returning home

Froilan Gallardo

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Six SONAs later, displaced Marawi families still barred from returning home

DESTROYED. A group of men climb a building destroyed in the 2017 Siege in Marawi City on Monday, October 17.

Merlyn Manos/Rappler

The Moro Consensus Group says 24 of Marawi’s nearly 100 barangays remain off-limits, with soldiers maintaining strict control over vehicular traffic to these closed sections

MARAWI, Philippines – Six State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs) after the devastating five-month-long fighting that reduced Marawi to ruins, one-fourth of the city continues to be inaccessible to Maranaos, with military forces still maintaining control over these areas.

Drieza Lininding, leader of the Moro Consensus Group (MCG), said 24 of Marawi’s nearly 100 barangays remained off-limits to residents, with soldiers maintaining strict control over vehicular traffic to these closed sections.

The MCG said Maranao families should now be allowed to return to their homes since the government has begun the process of compensating for lives and properties lost during the 2017 Marawi siege. According to the group, this would restore normalcy to the city shattered by the five months of fighting.

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The group also said the newly constructed mosques, a sports stadium, and barangay halls should be made available for use by the Marawi residents; otherwise, they would fall into decay.

Lininding said it was clear to them during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s SONA on Monday, July 24, that he wanted to bring back normalcy in Marawi to clear the way for its full rehabilitation.

During his annual address at the Batasang Pambansa, Marcos Jr. reiterated the government’s commitment to rebuilding Marawi. “Six years after the intense conflict, Marawi City is set to rise again. The community’s vibrancy is being restored. Numerous projects have been completed, and infrastructure is being built,” he said.

The government has provided P1 billion to compensate for the lives and properties lost during the fighting between the military and Daesh-inspired Maute gunmen.

Its implementing agency, the Marawi Compensation Board, started accepting applications for compensation on July 4.

But Lindinding complained that Maranaos have to go through a myriad of Army checkpoints first to get through the receiving center of the MCB in Barangay Marinaut West.

At the MCB’s receiving center, a man and seven of his siblings, and mother submitted their application papers with lawyers from the board assisting them.

“I am filing a claim of P250,000 for the loss of pieces of jewelry and other valuables,” said the man who asked to be identified only as Zaud.

He said this is one of the few times his siblings and mother came together after the fighting burned down their family compound of several houses.

Zaud said before the compound was destroyed, their family was closely-knit, sharing tasks and enjoying moments as one big family.
“I miss those days when we were living closely together. We now have our own houses, but we are living far away from each other,” he said. – Rappler.com

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