MANILA - More than rebuilding infrastructures, the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi is about restoring social order and trust in institutions, the head of a Mindanao-based think tank said Monday.
If the government fails to address these trust issues, extremist groups could draw the youth into their fold, according to Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Government.
"These infrastructure and rehabilitation are just tools to be able to rebuild lives, rebuild social relations, rebuild trust in government also. If there's no trust in the current political institutions, then the extremists ideology will be very attractive especially to the young ones," he told ANC.
Bacani said the government should consider the plight of the displaced residents, especially since most of the Maranaos do not have land titles.
"Siguro kailangan ibalik mo muna sila where they were at the time before the Marawi siege. 'Yun ang pinakaimportante diyan na makakabalik ang mga tao," Bacani said.
(Let them go back to where they were before the Marawi siege. that's the most important thing.)
The 5-month siege of Marawi left 250 hectares of the city's business district in ruins. Thousands of displaced residents are living in temporary shelters, where they are expected to stay for at least 3 years.