There is something about the youth of Marawi City that makes one feel optimistic about the future.
Here is a vibrant youth population that intimately knows the city’s potential and the many challenges that can possibly keep the city from realizing it, and it is this knowledge that has proven to be an advantage for those who want to make a difference.
When news broke about the clash in Marawi City, it hardly meant anything for some people until martial law was declared in Mindanao. But to the youth of Marawi City, it meant a postponement of plans and delayed developments.
Graduation had to wait for some students of Marawi City, as a number of professors are yet to give final grades. Ceremonies had to be rescheduled to a much later – maybe even tentative – date. Some students are yet to find out when their first day of classes will be, given the unpredictability of the situation in the city.
Young professionals had to put their lives on hold, some put their careers on the backburner, and others reassessed their priorities. The life that was once carefully planned in preparation for a promising future has now taken a sudden turn, and now one must make room for adjustments due to these unforeseen events.
Just two months ago, the Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao held a youth congress in Lanao del Sur at the Marawi Campus of Mindanao State University. There we met hundreds of promising student leaders from across the province, including those who proposed solutions to some of Marawi City’s most pressing problems, ranging from waste segregation, to underemployment, to terrorism.
Rebuilding the city
While it is now difficult to imagine what the youth of Marawi City will be coming home to, it is not hard to imagine that they will be at the forefront of rebuilding and bringing life back to the city.
The relentless optimism and tireless commitment they have shown in improving the quality of life of their people will now be tested by the dire conditions they unfortunately have to face. But we are confident that the youth of Marawi City will not only be the hope of their people, but that they will also be the driving force towards the city’s healing and recovery.
This, of course, cannot be done by the youth of Marawi City alone. This is where our long-term commitment as a nation to helping the people of Marawi will ultimately be tested – a commitment that goes beyond providing relief and quick fixes. The healing and recovery of Marawi City will require a constant effort from all of us to reach out and provide assistance in various aspects of reparation and rebuilding, and will demand a sincere effort to learn about the city’s history so we can help direct its future in a manner that is relevant and meaningful to the people of Marawi themselves.
We must unite and act together with the people of Marawi, especially with the youth that has never faltered in working for the betterment of their city and their country. We must lend ourselves to the people of Marawi and include them in the future we imagine for ourselves, for despite all our differences we share the same nation and its promise for the future.
We must constantly seek ways to reach out to the people of Marawi, especially to the youth whose pride and passion will definitely determine the future of the city they call home. – Rappler.com
Amir Mawallil is the executive director of the Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
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