APPARENTLY exhausted and in complete frustration, residents of the once tranquil and peaceful lakeside city of Marawi heeded this clarion call to unite once and for all: This fight is meaningless, we are all Muslims, we are all Filipinos.
So enraged over the heavy death toll and havoc wrought by the rampage of their radical “brethren,” Maranaos declared “jihad” (holy war) against the Isis-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terror groups.
Indeed for almost a month now, they have suffered long enough. The time has come to link arms together and fight the evils of peace now within their midst.
Yet the challenge of restoring peace in this trouble land is nowhere in sight as the fighting gets intense and tougher every day.
With a possibility of turning into a protracted war, Marawi today is empty, almost down to its knees, a virtual ghost town with only the sounds of war could be heard, sending signals that the fight is not yet over.
The Maranaos have sacrificed so much and sad to say, they eventually lost their dignity, properties, lives and collective peace.
The Marawi siege is striking not only because of its cruelty but also because of the people’s failure to shake out apathy hence this massive destruction of properties and loss of lives.
The military openly admitted that the militants still control about 20 percent of Marawi and that an end to the bloody siege is not at hand.
Looking at the increasing number of casualties and the destruction of properties, it reflects more clearly the pain and terror that the people of Marawi are experiencing as the fighting becomes intense by the day.
The magnitude of the damage that has afflicted Marawi and its people is a reminder of large-scale wars that were undeclared and unprepared for.
The losses so far have been great as hundreds (202 as of latest count) have been reportedly killed, and key locations in the city went down and out, including roads and bridges that may take months or even years to rebuild.
The question that deserves an answer is: who are the victims? The 200,000 Maranaos who have been directly or indirectly affected and harmed? Or the nation as a whole?
Surprisingly, this Isis-inspired Maute terror group is fighting up to their last breath. They practically know the terrain, when to move forward, how far to go and when to retreat.
The most important question is: what will happen after? It is likely that after the military operations, the government will be faced with an endless pile of massive rehab work for Marawi that could cost billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money.
In the meantime, not a ray of hope is in the offing, not because the military is not capable to crush the rebellion but with the enemies on the defensive, well-entrenched and equipped with substantive firepower, and financial support, the fighting may seem to drag for more days, even weeks or maybe months.
Only God knows when. Sigh.