MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte should set a deadline for the rehabilitation of the southern city of Marawi that a terrorist siege left in ruins 3 years ago, an issue that he failed to mention in his State of Nation Address this week, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
Authorities have just finished clearing debris from the city and have yet to start rebuilding roads, said Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman. Residents driven away by the 2017 siege are still at temporary shelters, living with relatives or had relocated.
Duterte, the first President from Mindanao, should have set a deadline for the rehabilitation of Marawi in the same way that he gave telecommunication firms an ultimatum for improving their services, said the lawmaker.
“Kung binigyan ng taning ang Globe at Smart, dapat binigyan na rin ng taning kung kailan talaga matatapos ang Marawi rehabilitation para Myron asahan ang ating mga kababayan sa Lanao,” Hataman told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(If Globe and Smart were given a deadline, a deadline should have also been set for completing the Marawi rehabilitation so our compatriots in Lanao could rely on something.)
“Dalawang taon na lang ang ating Pangulo. Baka mamaya ‘pag palit ng administrasyon, talagang makakalimutan na nang tuluyan ang usapin ng Marawi,” he said.
(Our President will be in power for just 2 more years. When the administration changes, the Marawi issue might be completely forgotten.)
While the government seeks to contain the coronavirus pandemic and revive the economy, authorities should not neglect Marawi because terrorists could take advantage of this issue to make more recruits, said Hataman.
He also urged fellow lawmakers to prioritize a bill seeking compensation for the survivors of the Marawi siege, instead of divisive measures like the death penalty.
Thousands of houses were destroyed when state forces retook Marawi from Islamic State sympathizers who held it for 5 months in 2017.