The provincial government of Bohol has extended a P1-million assistance to the war-torn Marawi City as Gov. Edgar M. Chatto vowed to help the embattled city recover from the devastation brought by terrorist-induced war.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra thanked the governor and people of Bohol for their “concern to help us rise again” even if the government forces have yet to end the scourge of terrorism in his ashed dear land.
Chatto had the emergency financial assistance in check personally delivered by his two assistants, Eric Galan and Thary Victor Hora, to Gandmara at the Marawi City Hall on Wednesday.
Government forces are still trying to crush the remaining Maute-ISIS terrorists in the main battleground at the very business center ofthe city, which economy the mayor said is in “total collapse.”
“Tayo po ay nagpapasalamat sa mabuting si Gov. Chatto at sa kanyang buong constituency ng Bohol sa kanilang malasakit sa pagtulong sa amin dito sa Marawi,” Gandmara said in a phone interview in the noontime program “Silab sa UdtongTutok” on DYRD Thursday.
It was the first interview ever granted by Gandmara to a Bohol-based media and radio program, which is hosted by Ven Arigo, since the Marawi siege last May.
The mayor could only pray and hope for the “near end” of the war, saying it might “just take a (remaining) week or 10 days” until the enemies are totally subdued.
This he based on his “briefing” from the high commands and ground forces of the government.
Terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute are, based on the mayor’s information, are still within the main battleground.
The clash and bloodshed have already run for over four months and the people and defenders of Marawi have more than gravely suffered, Gandmara told DYRD in the interview.
Gandamra was informed that Bohol received and assisted a number of refugees from his city.
“Tayo po ay nagpapasalamat na kahit papaano, sa dinanas naming kahirapan dito, ay may kagayanyopo, kagayang ating governor at mga mamayan ng Bohol na nagmamalasakit po at handing tumulong sa pagbangon ng Marawi,” the mayor again thanked.
DU30 VOWS FULLREBUILD SUPPORT
In their talk on his most recent visitto the battle area, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte vowed to the mayor he wouldfully provide to rebuild Marawi.
The Senate has allocated P10 billion for Marawi’s rehabilitation while an initial P500 million will be provided in loan facilities for the private sector, according to a national report.
Once the armed chaos shall have ended, the immediate reconstruction priorities do include the rehabilitation of infrastructure like roads and power facilities, Gandamra said, although job and livelihood are equally extremely urgent.
Construction of temporaryshelters has started in an area already cleared, he said.
With a security convoy provided by the mayor, the team sent by Chatto to deliver the P1 million aid visited the sites for temporary and transitional core shelters.
At the press conference in Tagbilaran City also on Thursday, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chair Orlando Ravanera said his agency has an intervention for the housing and livelihood of the Marawi settlers displaced by the violence.
The mayor himself has personally donated five hectares for the shelter project, said Ravanera who is a Mindanaoan from Cagayan de Oro City.
For Gandmara, physical reconstruction is meaningless if the Marawi people have no livelihood support to sustain the rebuilding of their lives.
Asked if martial law should only be “co-terminus” with the Marawi war, Gandmara for now believed the wisdom to decide on its lifting or extension will likely largely rely on national security advices.
The mayor said there have been no military and police abuses or human rights violations yet reported in his place since the imposition of the Mindanao-wide martial law.
Marawi’s “experience” should be prevented to “spread over” to near-lying Mindanao areas and the lifting or extension of martial law has to consider the “condition” in these areas, Gandamra said.
Core decentralization of the government under federalism is perceived to only further raise the economic status of the industrialized and fast-growing regions, which have plenty of resources.
Thus, it is believed that it may affect the local effort of reconstruction as Marawi’s revenue sources like trade and industry are dead together.
To these views, Gandamra said the move towards federalism must involve the people in the consultative process and what good it can do to Marawi’s recovery is yet to be ascertained.
“We will support federalism if it does give us greater good. We will see,” said Gandamra who is both a lawyer and a certified public accountant.
With thegovernment warriors’ intensified clearing operations on the main battleground in the city, which has 96 barangays, and the economic facilities in perfect ruin, the mayor said emergency needs are their present focus.
As a local government unit, the city is preparing its annual budget for 2018 from “scratch” and how to manage it as aligned to the overly-tasking rehabilitation can be simply blasting the brain.
MARAWI HAS YETMORE TO TELL
Behind its terrible fate, Marawi has many “motivating” stories yet untold but which the mayor thought couldwait to be shared to the nation until the smoke clears.
He commended the heroism of the fallen defenders and those who are still sacrificing their lives so that his city may be liberated from terrorism, rebuilt and breathing life again.
Called by Chatto “a help from the people of Bohol,” the P1 million capitol aid was received by Gandamra together with Marawi City Treasurer Anggay Abdullah and Councilors Ozamah Macabangon, Amienquailed Dimal and Borgiva Dalidig.
On Friday, Dalidig sent a grateful text message, “Tnx ulit sa inyo sir. Extend our regards to the People of Bohol. Maraming salamat sa inyo. Mabuhay ang mga Boholanos.”
The assistance turnover was also witnessed by Marianito Alemania, a Mindanao businessman from Loon who is the president of the Kaliwat Bol-anon in Lanao and Iligan (KABOLIG).
He escorted the team sent by Chatto from Iligan City all the way to Marawi City.
MARAWI SIEGE ATEST TO THE NATION
The siege ofMarawi is a test to the country, Gandamra said, and “one mayor” can never extinguish such a hell. “Tayo po ay magkaisa para harapin itong pagsubok na ito ditto po sa amin sa Marawi.”
Asked if he has still fear, the mayor replied, “I can’t tell that I’ve lost all my fears. I’m only human. But I also have a mandate to serve and continue to serve as mandated.”
He said Marawi will not lose hope and is even more resolved to face whateverrisks there may still be.
Since day one of the terrorist attack and bloodbath, Gandamra has never left his land—once a charming and warm city by the Lanao lake also known as the “Summer Capital of the South,” a title shared by only one other Mindanao city, the Malaybalay in Bukidnon. (VenreboArigo)