Thousands pray for Marawi normalcy during Eid’l Fitr gathering

Merlyn Manos

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Thousands pray for Marawi normalcy during Eid’l Fitr gathering
'We pray that (the Marawi Compensation Board) would be able to fast track their work so that the people of Marawi can recover,' says former Comelec chairman Saidamen Pangarungan as he leads thousands of Maranaos in prayer during an Eid'l Fitr gathering

MARAWI, Philippines – Some 20,000 Maranaos gathered at the Islamic Center in Pangarungan village in Marawi to celebrate Eid’l Fitr, worship, and pray for normalization six years after many of them were displaced during the months of fighting in 2017.

Known as the Marawi Grand Mosque, the three-story structure was among the first to be rebuilt by the government after the bombardment of the predominantly Muslim city during the Marawi City. 

Former Lanao del Sur governor Saidamen Pangarungan led thousands at the jampacked mosque on Saturday, April 22, in praying that the Marcos Jr. administration speed up the process of compensating the thousands of Maranao families who lost their loved ones and properties as a result of the 2017 Marawi Siege.

In January, Malacañang named lawyer Maisara Dandanum-Latiph as head of the Marawi Compensation Board (MCB), a body tasked by law to facilitate the tax-free payment of reparations for thousands of Maranao families adversely affected by the five-month fighting.

Latiph, a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), is now leading the board composed of Sittie Aliyyah Lomondot Adiong, Dalomabi Lao Bula, Mustapha Dimampao, Jamaica Lamping Dimaporo, Mabandes Sumndad Diron Jr., Moslemen Macarambon Sr., Romaisa Lomentong Mamutuk, and Nasser Macapado Tabao.

The board’s task is complicated with many of the claims, especially on land ownership, overlapping and without documentary bases.

Thousands prayed that many of those displaced in 2017 would be allowed to return to the most affected areas of Marawi and rebuild.

“We pray that they (board) would be able to fast track their work so that the people of Marawi can recover,” Pangarungan said as he led the mass prayer.

Once the head of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and subsequently, the ad interim chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2022, Pangarungan added, “We pray that they can can start hearing the claims of all the private owners especially those from most affected area of Marawi City so that people can move on and live normally.“

Thousands of Maranaos also prayed for recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an improved economy for the country that has been suffering as a result of inflation.

Police-Lanao del Sur deputy director for operations Lieutenant Colonel Juanito Jamis said the 9,846-square-meter and multi-level mosque was tightly packed, and was the largest gathering of Muslim devotees in Marawi City so far this year.

He said some 20,000 gathered inside and outside the mosque to mark the end of the month-long Ramadan and greet Eid’l Fitr, the festival of breaking fast.

The mosque, built more than a half a century ago and rebuilt after it was damaged during the Marawi Siege, is the largest in the Philippines. –

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