DISPLACED residents of Marawi City are appealing to President Duterte to grant Meranaws their right to rebuild Marawi City as they rejected the proposed rehabilitation plans “being imposed upon us” –including an ecozone and a military camp — by “those who live far from us.”
In a letter to the President, the Ranao Multi Sectoral Movement (RMSM) described their future as “threatening” because “forces are moving that threaten to do far greater damage to our people than what the war has done.”
“In the guise of rebuilding our homes, in the guise of laying down the foundations of a better, progressive and modern city, the will and vision of those who live far from us who built this city are being imposed upon us. This is an invasion of a different kind. This one threatens to rob our soul,” reads the letter issued by the RMSM Thursday and read at the rally in Marawi Friday.
The group said plans for the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi have been made “without our participation,” that these plans “neither bear the stamp of our will nor reflect our culture,” their mechanics and implementation “not clear to us.”
“But one thing is clear: the people of Marawi are largely left out. Those who came to present the plan dismissed our comments, recommendations, and protestations as though we knew nothing and have no business getting involved in rebuilding our very own city,” the group said.
“Grant us, the people of the lake, the rightful heirs to this land, our right to rebuild this city with your guidance, support and protection,” the RMSM told Duterte.
The blueprint of Marawi, the group stressed, is in the hearts and minds of the Meranaws “and not in the drawing boards of urban architects and master planners.”
Invoking his being a fellow Meranaw, the group said: “Mr. President, you belong to our people. You know we will not keep quiet and simply accept this. We cannot accept that those who know so little of us would map out how to rebuild our city. Our home for since time immemorial.”
The group appealed to Duterte to “let Marawi be rebuilt the way our ancestors did: one house at a time, one masjid at a time. One village at a time.”
Although they welcome those who are willing to help, they expressed hope they will help rebuild “according to our will in pursuit of the will of Allah.”
“Stand with us, help us, please, be one of us,” they urged the President.
They also called on the President to “intervene in the planned rebuilding of our beloved city and to stop the plan to establish an Ecozone” which Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair, Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario and Undersecretary Adoracion Navarrao of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) presented at the Muli Sectoral Forum at the provincial capitol of Lanao del Sur in Marawi on March 20-21.
“Please put a stop to the proposed Eco zone and military camp plans until we have been heard, until our dreams and aspirations, our cultural sensitivities and our faith find expression in the rebuilding of Marawi City, our home,” the President was asked. (carolyn o. arguillas / mindanews)