‘Forgotten’: Prelate hits slow Marawi rehab efforts

‘Forgotten’: Prelate hits slow Marawi rehab efforts

This file photo shows damaged houses and buildings in Marawi city on Feb. 7, 2018. DUYOG MARAWI

By CBCP News

May 23, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic prelate in southern Philippines has lamented the government’s slow rehabilitation efforts of Marawi.

It’s been three years since the last shots of war were fired in Marawi but Bishop Edwin Dela Peña said “nothing much has happened since then”.

“Ground zero is still an image of destruction reminiscent of the early days of the siege,” Dela Peña said.

Attention to Marawi, he said, had also been overtaken by recent events such as the Taal volcano eruption, the coronavirus crisis, and the typhoon “Ambo”.

“These relegated us to the backdoor of history… to the point of being completely forgotten from the national psyche,” according to him.

Thousands of residents living in the main battle area of the city have yet to return home, with many of them still living in temporary shelters.

The prelate said that he and other residents of St. Mary Cathedral compound in Marawi have also been living “in exile” at a village in Lanao del Norte.

“All IDPs (internally displaced persons) from the ground zero are still living in temporary shelters,” he added. “The future is still uncertain for all of us”.

The country’s Islamic city was besieged on May 23, 2017 by hundreds of local and foreign militia affiliated to Islamic State.

The government imposed martial law and large parts of Marawi were destroyed in five months of fighting between troops and militants that killed nearly 1,200.