05/25/2022, 15.48
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Hundreds of displaced Marawi residents want Marcos Jr to help them go home

On Monday, the fifth anniversary of the city’s siege, displaced residents staged a protest demanding the newly elected president solve the “mess” left by the Duterte administration. According to UNHCR, 120,000 people still live in shelters. Government infrastructure projects are of no use, critics say.


Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of internally displaced people held a rally on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of the siege of the city of Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao.

More than 500 people who have lived mostly in temporary shelters since 2017 have turned to newly elected President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, asking him to "clean up the mess" left by outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte so that they can go home by the end of the year.

On 23 May 2017, the Muslim-majority town of Marawi was attacked and besieged by Maute and Abu Sayyaf, two radical Islamist groups, whose members had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State in order to set up a caliphate province in Southeast Asia.

After protracted street fighting that saw heavy shelling that left the city in ruins, government forces freed Marawi on 23 October.

However, most residents still live in precarious conditions while thousands of internally displaced people are still waiting for the solution promised by President Duterte.

A May 2020 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicates that more than 120,000 residents who fled the city still live in makeshift accommodations outside the city.

“The IDPs are fed up with the unreliable livelihood they have in the temporary shelters. They have had enough of it. They want to go home to rebuild their homes,” said Amenodin “Ding” Cali, director of the Reclaiming Marawi Movement (RMM), speaking to the Rappler, a Philippine online news website.

Back in March, Marcos Jr told reporters that there was "no need" to rehabilitate the areas in Marawi devastated by the fighting because the Duterte administration was already “finishing” the work.

In April, Duterte signed the Marawi Siege Compensation Act, a law that sets up an eight-member compensation board with quasi-judicial power to settle disputes.

However, “The IDPs do not want the board to be politicalized. They want the board to help them,” Cali explained.

Duterte’s Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), which is supposed to rebuild the city, presented a new reconstruction plan that includes a sports stadium, a convention centre, mosques and parks.

TFBM manager Felix Castro Jr downplayed the rally and dismissed the IDPs’ demands, saying that at least a thousand people have received permits to rebuild their homes in Marawi’s worst-hit area; however, the compensation board did admit that it had not yet decided how to compensate those who lost their home or business.

Tirmizy Abdullah, the national coordinator of the Interfaith Cooperation Forum, was less than sanguine about these projects, saying that they are not what displaced residents needed at this time. Infrastructure projects are nothing if residents cannot return home.

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Marawi bishop returns to the cathedral devastated by violence
13/01/2018 15:07
Marawi, first Mass in St. Mary's Cathedral since end of siege
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Marawi, two leaders killed in attack on the last Islamic stronghold
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