3rd of four parts
IN the same vein, the hundreds of thousands of highly competent and empowered with capacity new generation of the people of Marawi cannot be under estimated.
No amount of bombs can diminish their value. On the other hand, I think like an arrow that has to be pulled backwards for them to be able to be propelled further – they will recompensate by working and rebuilding better.
What is sad is a businessman whose capital is all on his stocks and goods. What happens if his stocks and goods get burned or stolen? He will find it hard to recover. But how about someone whose actual capital is his capacity – be it in the mind, the ability or discipline – to be able to earn from adding value to something or bringing products closer to the market. If they lose their stocks, they could always jump back stronger.
It is on this light that I believe that the people of Marawi will build back stronger and better.
The 99 percent of the people of the lake have an advantage of diverse capacity. From the level of business to the level of competence to the level of networks – well the President is a descendant from the people of the lake.
Ten years ago, as Sulu Provincial Administrator, we experienced the Panamao clash between the MNLF and the Government. And many other all out wars and clashes.
Marawi and the people of the lake had been spared. Although if you look at history, the gallant wars were fought by the people of the lake from Malabang to Bayang to Marawi during the period of the Spaniards to the Americans.
But in the month-long conflict in Marawi, another new generation of heroes emerged that reinforced my perception of the wealth of capacity.
In the dozens of major all out wars in Basilan and Sulu as well as in Maguindanao, there had been a lot of calls for peace or social interventions for peace. But none like this.
The past weeks I saw my good friends from Lanao jump to organize, under the instruction of Regional Governor Hataman, to have a crisis management center response unit.
The sheer optimization of technology, systems, mechanisms and commitment and monitoring as well as the rescue systems were extraordinary. Way above those I have seen during the Zambo siege or conflicts in Maguindanao and Sulu.
I am blessed to have many good old friends from the people of the lake. So while I have good friends who are very busy in crisis management response systems, I have also friends who are strongly and directly calling for end to bombing in Marawi. One resigned a government post for her conviction. Another dared to strongly call for end to bombing. And then again, in a show of independent conviction, the Lanao Integrated Bar of the Philippines dared to boldly oppose the aerial bombing in Marawi with powerful legalese that strongly reverberated across sectors. Some lawyers of Lanao as well expressed intention to go up to the Supreme Court.
They are a few, unlike the thousands of highly trained combatants and fighters of Sulu, Basilan or Maguindanao – but their voices pierce through the metal armor of the powers that be – enough to make even the President apologize three times – sorry, sorry… sorry.
This kind of bold opposition was not present in Sulu, Basilan and even in Maguindanao all out wars.
But then of course, we still don’t know up to when the bombing will end.
I empathize with my fellow Moro in Lanao on the destruction in Marawi. My colleague cried as we visited the evacuation site in Saguiaran. And she cried again after we left. No amount of comforting or sugar coating can shield the impact and effects of the burning down of homes in Marawi – the lifelong dreams shattered in a few days.
Some say religious conviction is a strength of the people in Marawi. In fact Regional Governor Hataman was sent to Marawi when he was young to learn Islamic education. However, in this era of international clash of ideas and civilizations – even amongst Muslims – the strength may have had been taken advantage of by complicated interest groups. There are so many geopolitical forces clashing and at play worldwide. Even the Middle East is in turmoil. We don’t know if there are external forces at play and Marawi is a beautiful city that became a collateral damage to a larger chess game of the giants. (to be concluded)