MANILA- Residents displaced by the rampage of terrorists in Marawi City held their own version of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's second report to the nation.
The Saving Lives Movement, Ranaw Rescue Team and other humanitarian groups organized the event they dubbed as the State of the Bakwit Address (SOBA).
The groups said they did not intend to criticize Duterte but only wanted to give a platform to those displaced by the Marawi City clashes who continue to stay in evacuation centers or with relatives and friends outside the conflict zone.
Civic leader Samira Gutoc-Tomawis opened the SOBA with a moment of silence for state troops killed in the fighting.
Tomawis said Marawi residents grieve for the loss of lives in the ongoing conflict.
Several evacuees then shared their plight, drawing tears from many in the audience.
Nanayaon Gumbao, an evacuee, wept as she urged Duterte to withdraw his martial law declaration in Mindanao, which Congress has extended until the end of the year.
She said many evacuees just want to go home or check on their houses for even a few minutes.
Gumabo also shared cases of discrimination in the area, where some landlords allegedly drove away evacuees just because they were Muslims. - Report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News
Firefights between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists have entered its third month, with more than 500 dead and roughly 300,000 displaced from Marawi City and nearby areas.